In this series I want to cover a number of common health, safety and security issues, at home, which kills, injures or mentally scars many people every year and / or cause property damage and financial hardship. A little bit of vigilance, inspection, house keeping and maintenance can help prevent these issues. Prevention will save you money in the long run, do it now, don't wait for the horse to bolt!
Serious issues could result in time off work with loss of wages or even worse, not being able to work at all. How would you pay your mortgage and bills? Repair the property or pay insurance excess and the resulting increased insurance premiums.
In part 1 I covered security and part 2 health. Here in part 3 I'm going to discuss safety.
General external inspection, how often do we do this? Have a good walk around the house and garden, remember the more eyes the better, don't forget outhouse, greenhouse, shed and garage. Take a note of everything of concern, returning later to fix. Look for sharp edges, splitting wood which could injure hands, flaking paint and rust on gates and hand rails.
Roof condition - missing or slipped tiles or slates, tiles or other debris in gutter ready to fall, condition and security of gutter and down pipes, tv aerials, consider having a drone inspection every few years. Security of telephone wires, lights and cables, cctv camera, cracked or broken glass.
Garden, Children's climbing frame, trampoline, swing etc. Garden fence not loose and wobbly, trees with branches about to fall down, condition of pond netting or fence if applicable, dripping external tap......
General internal inspection, as above but also look at sharp edges on the floor such as carpet bars, floor or carpet tacks etc. Check shelving for security, overloading and potential dropped objects, ceiling light fittings for security and exposed wiring. Stair hand railing for security and splinters. Loose carpet especially on the stairs.......
Children safety equipment, if you have young children then there is a lot of safety equipment available. Consider what you might need such as electric socket inserts, edge and corner protectors, cupboard and drawer security, nipped finger protection, stair gates, window guards etc and fit them.
Tools which are not looked after can be a safety concern. Ensure they are all, power, garden and hand, inspected, cleaned, maintained, no bits such as guards missing, handles secure, power cables inspected, stored out of the way of children. Check condition of ladders especially the mechanism to stop them spreading to far and any anti slip treads on ends. If they use rope, check or replace the rope, make sure you check operation of any spring / secure buttons for extending and any locking mechanism.
PPE is often forgotten, such as eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, boots. Check the condition of all your ppe, keep it clean and well maintained, store it safely and only use it for what it is meant to be used for.
Electricity is something we don't check enough and causes lots of house fires every year. Are we over loading any circuits with extension leads and multi plug adaptors? Are extension leads in good condition? Check the power sockets, light switches and fuses spurs are all in good condition, secure to the wall and with correct number of securing screws. When did you last check all appliances electric cables for cuts, exposed wiring, loose plugs etc (tv, sat or cable box, computers, lights, fans, fish tank......). Remember to check external to the house as well, lights and power for water ingress, rodent chewing, cut by tools, the tools themselves etc.
Heat and smoke detectors, when were they last tested? If they are battery units when was the battery last changed? If they are mains powered they often have a back up battery, is this still in date? If you are replacing then be aware that the law is changing, from 2022 you MUST have smoke, heat and co in the house and smoke and heat are to be linked.
First aid, in the last part, health, I discussed medicines and allergies. First aid is for emergencies, for you to help prior to seeing the professionals. Check your first aid box, have you replaced the parts that gave been used is it all still in date? Do you need more as the family grows, what about another kit in the car or caravan?
Fire extinguisher, if you have one in the house, car, or caravan, do you know how to works? Have you read the instructions? is it in good condition? is it still fully charged? is it in date?
Fire blanket, is it in good condition, do you know how to use it? Have you read the instructions?
Escape planning, do you have a plan? Does everyone else in the house know the plan? Have you ever talked about it? Is it written down? Have you had any practices or drills? have you thought about how you would get everyone out of the house safely in an emergency? Different parts of the house will have different challenges to overcome. Do your windows fully open , do you know how to fully open windows , is equipment you might need for escape available, do you have emergency equipment stored outside in shed or garage such as blankets, air mattress, spare car keys, water, phone, torches, first aid kit etc? Have you checked it? Torches, checked? Batteries changed, spare batteries or bulbs?
Gas, gas bottles stored outside in well ventilated area away from ignition sources, empty or old bottles disposed of
Gas, boiler serviced, hob and fires checked, CO detector near appliance, checked, battery replaced?