Safety

Horizon is committed to keeping people safe around electricity, and has a number of safety programmes to protect our customers, their children, people working around the network and our crews from the dangers of electricity.

General Appliances

  • Never use a faulty electrical appliance, or one that has a frayed cord, cracked or broken plug, or any appliance that has given someone any kind of shock.
  • To avoid a shock, switch off power points before plugging and unplugging appliances.
  • Do not attempt to repair faulty electrical appliances yourself.  Leave it to a qualified repairman or licensed electrician.
  • Remove appliances from the power point by holding the plug, not by pulling the cord.
  • Have appliances serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When buying second hand appliances ensure that they have been tested by a licensed electrician and been certified as safe.
  • If you use a portable light, choose only approved hand lamps with protective guards and adequate insulation.
  • Never leave your home with appliances such as heaters, ovens and stove tops operating.
  • Remove any build-up of materials around the electric motor of exhaust fans (e.g.  fluff, dust, lint, etc.). Make sure you turn off the power first!
  • Do not place fan heaters, televisions and electrical equipment in areas with restricted air flow as overheating may occur.
  • Keep all combustible material (e.g. clothes, bed linen, curtains and tea towels) away from stove tops, heaters and lamps as heat build-up can cause fires.
  • When using your clothes dryer, ensure the load goes through a full cycle to allow the dryer to cool down.
  • Electric blankets should be checked at the start of each winter for damaged wires, plugs, leads and hot spots.  If the electric blanket is damaged you should replace it immediately.
  • Electric blankets should be laid flat and secured tightly on the bed.
  • Remember to turn off your electric blanket at the power point when you get into bed.
  • Electric blankets are not recommended where bed-wetting occurs.
  • Ensure you have the correct bulb size and rating (in watts) fitted in lamps according to manufacturers specifications.
  • All outdoor electrical appliances must conform to safety standards, i.e. be double insulated.

Kitchen Appliances

  • Regularly clean range hood filters.
  • Clean ovens and hot plates regularly to prevent the build-up of spilled fats and burnt foods.
  • Install a ventilation system, flue or exhaust fan in the kitchen to remove fumes while cooking.
  • Switch off and unplug your toaster before trying to remove toast, muffins or crumpets that are caught in the toaster.
  • Remove bread crumbs from the toaster regularly as a build up can be hazardous.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.  If you must leave the room take something with you as a reminder that you are cooking (e.g. a wooden spoon).

Switches and Power Points

  • Put safety plugs into unused power point sockets to prevent accidental contact.
  • Do not touch or attempt to repair a loose, cracked or broken power point switch. Repairs must only be undertaken by a licensed electrician or registered electrical contractor.
  • Do not overload power points or power boards by "piggy backing" plugs into one socket or by using double adaptors as all power boards have maximum current ratings. Instead, have another power point installed by a registered electrical contractor.
  • If there is a build up of dirt, moisture, grease or oil on or around power points and switches, have a licensed electrician test them.
  • Do not allow children to play with power points or switches.
  • Place power boards in ventilated areas and keep them free of dust and dirt.
  • Do not plug high wattage appliances (such as heaters) into power boards as they could overheat the circuit wiring through overload and cause a fire.
  • Do not spray household cleaners, detergents and insecticides on switches and power points.
  • Do not wipe power points or switches with a wet cloth.

Water and Electricity

  • Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or bare feet.
  • Never use any electrical appliance near water.
  • Do not use portable heaters in bathroom areas. Instead, you should have either a strip heater installed high on the wall or a ceiling unit installed by a registered electrical contractor.
  • Be extremely careful when using appliances connected to power points near sinks, baths or swimming pools.
  • Switch off and unplug all portable electrical appliances, such as hairdryers, shavers, etc after use.
  • If an electrical appliance has been immersed in water it must be discarded immediately.
  • Do not use extension leads or power leads in wet areas unless specifically designed to do so.

Extension Leads

  • Place extension cords carefully around furniture, preferably securely taped to the floor, or along wall edges.
  • Extension leads should have plugs with three metal cores (pins). Plugs with two cores are not earthed and therefore are dangerous and should be used only with double insulated electrical equipment.
  • Only use extension leads as a temporary measure.
  • Extension leads that are damaged, frayed or have the inner wires exposed should be thrown away or repaired by a qualified repairman or licensed electrician.
  • Do not place extension leads near heaters and cookers.
  • Check electrical cords are not hanging from benches where children can grab them.
  • Do not connect a piggyback plug to the end of an extension lead to make it longer as the pins will be live. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • If using extension leads outdoors check them regularly for signs of damage or age.
  • Do not attempt to repair electrical leads yourself, and never join them by twisting or taping.
  • Do not make up a long extension lead from a series of shorter ones.
  • Never place extension leads under carpet or rugs as they may overheat.
  • Fully extend leads on reels when in use.

Power Lines

  • Around the home always keep well clear of overhead power lines.
  • Keep all ladders, boat masts and poles well clear of overhead power lines.
  • When operating tall machinery such as cranes and augers, driving high vehicles, lifting equipment overhead or climbing on top of roofs or other elevated areas, focus on what is above you. Keep well clear of power lines.
  • Stay well clear of machinery being operated near power lines, as they could come in contact with overhead power lines.
  • Stay well clear of any fallen power lines as electricity can arc across gaps.
  • Do not attempt to remove trees or debris around power lines. Call Horizon on 0800 Horizon - 0800 467 496.
  • Be careful when working on the roof of your house. We can work around live wires, so call us if you want the power to stay on.
  • Do not play with kites or model planes near overhead power lines.
  • Only plant low growing tree or shrub species near overhead power lines. Underground Cables and Pipes
  • Before you begin excavation it is essential to identify all underground services to and within the property and locate the position of gas, electricity, water and other underground services (such as telephone and cable TV).
  • Contact us before you dig. We will provide you with information on most underground networks and can do onsite network cable location for free.
  • Underground cables installed on a person’s property should be accurately recorded and information placed in the meter box. If no record is evident, we can assist with locating the cables.

Switchboard and Fuses

  • Know where your switchboard is located on your property in case of an emergency.
  • Keep shrubs and trees clear around your switchboard and meter box for easy access.
  • Be careful replacing rewirable fuses and make sure that the main switch is turned off when carrying it out.
  • Label all switches, circuit breakers or fuses in the switchboard to identify the area of the property they control and protect.
  • If a fuse blows repeatedly in your house contact us to carry out a safety check.
  • Switch the power off at the main switch if you are carrying out any household maintenance or renovations.
  • Get us to inspect your switchboard if it has a strange smell or if there are any signs of heat scorching, burn marks or worn wires.

Christmas Lights

  • If putting lights outside, check they are safe to use externally and are in good condition.
  • Use a Residual Current Device (RCD) to automatically disconnect the power in the event of a fault. An RCD is a good safety device for Christmas lights outdoors and indoors.
  • It is a good idea to use low voltage Christmas lights. These have transformers that reduce the voltage going into the lights from 230 volts to 12 volts, reducing the risk of an electric shock if there is a fault with your lights.
  • Use waterproof exterior power plugs supplied from an RCD.
  • Fully unwind extension cords to avoid overheating and a fire risk.
  • Don’t put more than one plug or double plug into a power point or extension cord outlet. Be careful not to overload power points or multi-boards. Too many plugs in a single power point can cause a fire.
  • Make sure outdoor lights are securely attached to trees, house walls or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use specially insulated staples or clips to hold strings of lights in place (not nails or tacks), and mount them out of reach.
  • When you replace lamps, use lamps of the same voltage and wattage. If the voltage or wattage of the replacement lamp is too high, it could overheat and start a fire.
  • Always switch off and unplug light strings before replacing lamps

What to do in an Emergency

If you hit an electricity cable or overhead line:

  • Treat the cable or overhead line as live – get back at least 10 metres.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • If you are in a machine, stay there.
  • If you have to leave the machine, jump well clear.
  • Do not touch the machine and ground at the same time.
  • Never cover up a broken cable or try to fix it yourself.
  • Call 111.