When planning your home, quite apart from all the other aspects, you need to think about making it a safe place in which to live (particularly if there are young or elderly people in the house). Sharp tools, power tools, step ladders and scaffolding are all potentially lethal items if they are not handled with care (as are electricity and gas)—the do-it-yourself enthusiast should respect them and learn to use them safely. Last, but by no means least, you need to think about making. Your property safe from would-be house breakers and burglars.
Is your home safe?
The wise motorist regularly checks his vehicle to ensure that it is safe for use. The man on the shop floor follows safety procedures, and checks that any machinery he is required to use is safe and working efficiently. Equally, most families spend much thought and time in selecting suitable materials and appliances for use in the home. But, and it is a big “but”, statistics of home accidents prove that much pain and suffering could have been avoided if the victims of such accidents had given thought to unsafe situations within their own homes.
Few people realise that home accidents kill and maim more people each year than any other category of accident.
Unlike many accidents on the road or in industry, where the victims may not have been responsible for the circumstances, within the home the safety-minded family can control the situation. Half an hour or so is sufficient time to carry out a check in your home.
The following series of question has been devised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. In their view unless you answer yes to at least seventeen of the questions, your home is not necessarily a safe place.
1. Is it well lit?
Hall and passage
2. Is it well lit?
3. Is the doormat “sunk”?
4. Is the floor surface non-slip? Living room
5. Are carpets and rugs in good repair?
6. Are there sufficient electrical power points for all appliances?
7. Is the fire guarded with a fixed fireguard?
8. Is the mirror sited away from the fireplace? Kitchen
9. Are all domestic cleaning agents stored in a lockable receptacle?
10. Are kitchen knives and sharp utensils stored safely away from children ?
11. Is the cooker well maintained and functioning correctly?
12. Is the floor non-slip and free from polish build-up?
13. Does the medicine cupboard bear the B.S.I. Seal of approval?
14. Is it sited out of reach of children ?
15. Is the stair carpet firmly fixed and in good repair?
16. Are the banisters firm and’ strong and sufficient for safety?
17. Is the light operated by a return switch for use at top or bottom of the stairs? 18 Are the stairs free of obstruction?
19. Is the fire guarded with a fixed fireguard ?
20. Is the fire free from close contact with curtains and furnishings?
21. Is the electric blanket in good working order?
22. Does it have the B.S.I. Seal of approval?
23. Is the floor covering in good repair?
Bathroom and Lavatory
24. Are handrails fixed by the bath and toilet?
25. Are non-slip strips or mats available for use in the bath?
26. Does the light operate on a “pull cord” switch?
27. If warmed by electricity, is the heater sited high on the wall?
28. Does it have a “pull-cord” switch ? Buy for safety
A bad choice of domestic tools and appliances can cause home accidents, and a wise choice can prevent them. When buying new goods, look for an approvals mark, choose branded goods, and use your judgement. Look for these three symbols when buying goods for your home:
- The Kitemark —this is the mark of the British Standards Institution. Look for it when buying oil heaters; fireguards for open coal fires; electric plugs and sockets; step-ladders; pressure cookers; saucepans; babies’ cots: flame resistant fabrics. Some articles conforming to British Standards carry the letters BS followed by a number; the kitemark indicates continuous safety testing.
- BEAB sign —this is the symbol of the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board. Look for it when buying any type of domestic electrical appliance—such as radiant fires: kettles: vacuum cleaners; shavers; toasters; wash boilers; percolators; irons; hair dryers; immersion heaters: electric blankets; refrigerators.
- Gas Council symbol —all gas appliances sold in gas showrooms have to undergo severe tests before they are approved. These tests include safety, design, efficiency and performance. Appliances and fittings approved by the Gas Industry’s Research and Testing Laboratories must conform to British Standards Specifications, where such specifications exist, and also to the Gas Industry’s own specification.