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Check electrician qualifications"," warns Electrical Safety Council

The Electrical Safety Council is warning homeowners and tenants to ensure that they choose a fully qualified electrician to carry out any electrical works in their homes"," or risk serious injury or even a fatal shock.

With the cold winter months and dark evenings now well and truly set in"," households are turning on more electrical appliances such as heaters than in the summer months"," and this had led to a spate of electrical accidents as a result of poorly fitted or faulty appliances.

The Electrical Safety Council confirms that there are more than 20","000 non-registered ‘electricians’ working across the UK"," and many households are employing these people to carry out electrical work without checking their qualifications.

With electrical accidents accounting for 50 per cent of all housefires and killing at least one person each week in the UK"," the council is calling on the general public to ensure that they are employing fully qualified tradespeople. A third of people have employed an electrician based on the recommendation of a friend"," despite not going on to check that they are fully qualified.

Consumer champion Dominic Littlewood issued a warning: “From your mate down the pub to the guy who helps your builder out with a few odds and ends. What can look legitimate at first glance may turn into a nightmare if the person doesn’t have the right qualifications.”

A third of registered electricians have reported seeing a rise in poor or dangerous work"," and Dominic advises everyone to be on guard: “Don’t be shy. Know what to look for and how to check any electricians you use are registered. This will give you peace of mind and could save a lot of hassle in the long run","” he said.

The Electrical Safety Council’s Phil Buckle agrees"," saying: “‘You wouldn’t get an unregistered tradesperson to fix your boiler so why do it for your electrics?”