Every year in the UK more than 4,000 people die in accidents in the home and nearly three million turn up at accident and emergency departments seeking treatment according to RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).
Those renting accommodation may be more at risk than others. So what are the risks, how can you avoid them and who can you contact for advice and help?
- Are carpets and other floor finishes properly fitted down?
- Are loose mats non-slip on the underside?
- Is lighting good at changes in floor level, steps and stairs?
- Are stairways and landings protected safely? Do they have handrails?
- Are windows child-safe and can you still get out in an emergency?
- Is any low level glazing properly fitted with safety glass?
- Do floors, stairs or other parts of the building seem unsafe in other ways?
- Are anti-topple brackets fitted to cookers and cooker safety guards when children are there?
- Are work surfaces sufficient to keep children away from kettles and other hot or sharp objects? Do they fit close enough to both sides of the cooker to help stop children from reaching pan handles?
- Are self-closing fire doors, smoke detectors, fire alarms and emergency lighting fitted and maintained?
- Is a fire blanket provided in the kitchen area? Do you know how to use it?
- In a fire, could you leave the building by the front door without using a key and reach a place of safety?
- Do gas appliances work properly? Is there discolouring around gas fires or the top of water heaters?
- Have you seen the Gas Safety Certificate that the landlord should get for your home each year?
- Do electrical wires trail where they can be damaged, be in contact with water or be a trip hazard?
- Are electrical sockets overloaded, overheating, or giving electric shocks? Are wires old or damaged?
- Is furniture labelled as complying with fire regulations and a warning that 'Carelessness causes fire'?
- Do people who are young, elderly, have a disability or who are otherwise less able to react to an accident or emergency situation live in or visit your home? Is special care, advice or help needed?
Who is Responsible?
Even if you are renting accommodation, although your landlord has certain responsibilities, it is vitally important that you take time to help yourself by safety checking your own home surrounds - it may prevent an accident or even save your life!
Under Management Regulations that apply to houses in multiple occupation, a landlord has a duty to make sure that adequate precautions are taken to protect the safety of residents. If this applies to you, you may find that your landlord or managing agent will help you and you must tell them of your concerns.
For information on fire safety in the home visit our Fire Safety page.
Who else can help
- Private sector housing team - 01255 686617
- Trading Standards Service - 0845 6037626
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents - 0121 248 2000
- Gas Emergencies - call National Gas Emergency Service - 0800 111 999 (24 hour emergency line)
- NHS Direct - 0845 4647
Please be SAFE!