Electrical safety firstPeople and property is being put at heightened fire risk because an estimated 18 million people in the UK feel too embarrassed to ask if an electrician is registered, according to research by Electrical Safety First.

The Charity has just launched a major consumer campaign to raise awareness of the need to use a registered electrician. It follows an investigation in May which discovered that asking an electrician for proof of their professional registration was one of the top three most awkward questions – after asking your boss for a pay rise and requesting a queue jumper to get to the back of the line.

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First said: “While most of us claim to use registered tradespeople, only one in five of us actually request proof. It seems that British ‘awkwardness’ is a real barrier when it comes to checking that an electrician is safe to work on your home. But with more than half of all domestic fires in the UK arising from electricity - which also causes 350,000 serious accidents each year - ensuring your electrician is registered could end up saving your life.”

Electrical Safety First has offered five simple tips to help with this ‘awkward question’:
• Know the law – homeowners and landlords must be able to prove that electrical work in their property meets certain standards. Check them out before inviting people to quote.

Visit www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk and www.certificationregister.co.uk for more details.
• Be direct – have a phrase prepared, such as: “Before we get started can I see your proof of registration?”
• Ask early – do this before any work has been agreed or undertaken.
• Be insistent – and be prepared to ‘lose’ any electrician who refuses to provide evidence of registration.
• Put the emphasis on the professional – a registered electrician can easily provide verification of their status.

The Charity has also produced a video exploring British bashfulness. For more information visit our website at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org/Registeredelectrician.