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Don’tFriday 15 December 2017

Don’t let Christmas lights give you an electric shock

As experts in helping people secure compensation for accidents suffered at work, Swindon Accident Solicitors are all too aware of the dangers of electric shocks and fire.

Recent cases include a lorry driver who suffered extensive burns when raising the body of his lorry under an overhead power line, two painters who were burnt whilst moving a tower scaffold near a 33,000 volt power line, and a civil engineering contractor who died whilst erecting a mobile lighting tower under an overhead power line.

Under UK law (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) employers are responsible for ensuring the safety and health of their employees, and also the public if they are at risk from those work activities. This includes electrical safety.

Electrical Inspectors aim to reduce the number of electrical accidents by enforcing the law, providing advice on good working practices, and developing guidance in response to technical changes in equipment and working methods. On the domestic front, we should all take sensible precautions, especially at this time of year.

Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present during the festivities. So here is some advice from Swindon Accident Solicitors designed to make sure this Christmas is both merry and safe, at work and at home.

Fairy Lights

  • Check the fuses are the right type
  • If bulbs blow, replace them
  • Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper


  • Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily
  • Don’t attach them to lights or heaters
  • Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace
  • Keep them away from candles.

Christmas Trees

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. The needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling centre or having it taken away by a community pickup service.

If you have had an accident at work and were injured because your employer failed to provide a safe place of work, then you may be entitled to compensation. Swindon Accident Solicitors offers free* legal advice, no win, no fee. Please call Cristina Steel or Robert Millbourn on 01793 425595.


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