The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house. Over 50% of house fires are caused in the kitchen either due to people leaving pans unattended, faulty electrical wiring or water splashing on an exposed electrical socket. It is therefore highly important that you take great care in the kitchen and follow some very simple electrical safety rules.
Sockets for appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and fridges behind cupboard doors should be controlled by a switched fuse-connection unit, ideally mounted above the work surface where they can be accessed easily.
Even when electrical appliances pass British standards regulated by Health and Safety, they can still pose a threat in the kitchen if you do not take proper care. Microwaves, toasters and kettle should be turned off when not in use and electric chords should be kept away from surfaces that are likely to get hot such as when you have been using a toasted sandwich maker or fat reducing grill. Likewise you should keep flammable material such as curtains and kitchen roll away from any appliances that may cause them to catch fire.
Fridges present another danger if they are not properly maintained. You should leave sufficient room to allow air to circulate between the fridge and the plug socket and the refrigerator coils should be vacuumed every three months to avoid a build-up of dirt that can create a fire hazard. You should also defrost the freezer at least once a year.
If you are fitted a new kitchen or having your current kitchen rewired, it is advisable to hire the expert help of an electrician. Electrical specialists will also give you advice about the best places to install your plug sockets and will check the existing wiring to ensure it does not present any danger - particularly in old houses.
If you have any question about health and safety in the kitchen, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Electrical Safety Council. The Electrical Safety Council offers free guides and advice on electrical safety for at home and at work.