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Topic Title: ELECTRIC SHOCK DEATHS IN THE HOME STATISTICS
Topic Summary: Answers on a postcard to.
Created On: 21 April 2015 12:16 PM
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 21 April 2015 12:16 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 9097
Joined: 23 April 2005

I have in front of me a graph of statistics derived from data from the ONS.

They are the long term stats. for deaths from 1950 to 2013 caused by electric shocks in the home.

They show a steady Climb from 1950 of about 38 deaths to 1972 of 70 deaths with another peak of about 73 deaths in 1963.

From 1972 there is a steady decline to 3 in 2013.

The decline is quite pronounced with a steady climb up to 1972 and a steady decline from that date.

I can perhaps understand the steady climb from 1950 with the prevalence of many appliances and more use of electricity in the home but I am stumped on why the steady decline from 1972.

I would welcome suggestions or better some direction to a reference source of independent research?

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 21 April 2015 12:45 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Would I be right in thinking that the figures are for both fixed installations and appliances?

Wiring regs wise, there's probably a significant delay between new regs coming into force and enough installations being built to the new standards for the change to show up in statistics. So plausibly a result of the introduction of the 14th in 1966. Metrication in 1969/70 doesn't feel likely.

Did appliance standards improve at about that time though? It'll be about the era of harmonized colour code for flexes so I might hazard a guess that appliance standards might have been undergoing an overhaul under pressure of imminent 'Common Market' harmonization.

- Andy.
 21 April 2015 12:46 PM
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OMS

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Better awareness, better cable, better installer skills should cover it John

When did we start using PVC cable, when did we start training apprentices for electrical installation rather than the crop of largely self taugh or taught in other sectors installers - the house I initially grew up in was wired (for the first time) in the late fifties by a guy who worked as an armature winder and had had some training during WWII on "electrical" things

When did things such as BEAB get going

When did people start to move from bomb clearance to new homes

What role did the newly formed area boards play in terms of backstop safety checks prior to connection

It shouldn't be difficult to plot the curve plug in a few salient dates

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 April 2015 12:47 PM
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perspicacious

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I can't see any material Regulation change around 1972, but this would only apply to deaths in new or rewired homes, not to the deaths in homes wired prior to then, so the decline could be a legacy of an earlier change.....

Perhaps the change in cord colours to 13 A appliances?

Or general education..........

Regards

BOD
 21 April 2015 12:50 PM
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perspicacious

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3 posts a minute apart with similiar content

Coincidence or statistics?

Regards

BOD
 21 April 2015 12:55 PM
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OMS

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Or just maybe - all by the same person, BOD

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 April 2015 01:25 PM
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mapj1

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Hmm peak at 1970 - 2 pin plugs and unfused 3 pins going out of favour commercially, but still very much in use in the older home. Old folk still ironing with adaptors in the light fittings.New twin core flex requiring an over sheath, rather than just twisted wire singles as used to be common for drop cords and table lamps. Fused plugs and proper cord grips coming in. Lots of folk swapping plugs over on a daily basis

Public information films and leaflets, some very graphic,
Have you ever done This ?
for example.. I'm slightly embarrassed to say I have, albeit about 1980, but I (obviously) got away with it..

never did this though.
This..

A general change in attitudes to risks, and the "how to do it properly" information being circulated, but education takes half a life time.

Note that ONS figures do not count it as electrocution, if you die of burns, or falling off a ladder or similar, rather than from the shock current itself. (it is instead classed as a burn, smoke inhalation, or a fall as the cause of death..)

-------------------------
regards Mike


Edited: 21 April 2015 at 01:39 PM by mapj1
 21 April 2015 02:03 PM
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potential

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Mid 60s, early 70s was a heyday in London for domestic rewires IME.
Most houses I rewired had wiring from long before the war with just the addition of a 15 amp socket or two and maybe a cooker connection.
It was still quite common to have radios and irons being run from the centre suspended ceiling light using an adaptor.
Many houses still only had one "big" socket (15 amp) up and downstairs, some only down.
Electric fires often had very long flexes because there were so few sockets to plug into.
The fires were often taken into the bathroom too.
Most flexes were cotton covered rubber and were often badly frayed or had insulating tape wrapped around it.
I recall there was a twin flex used on Morphy Richard hairdryers that would burst into flames after a lot of flexing. The fine copper wires hardened up with all the twisting and eventually poked out of their soft rubber sheath through the cotton and shorted out.... but the wires were so small in diameter the fuse didn't blow.
Many metal-cased vacuum cleaners and the like were not earthed properly or at all.
Often the 15, 5 and 2 amp sockets would have a Christmas tree of adapters spouting from them.
Sometimes the wires were just poked into the adaptors using matchsticks to hold them in.
It was normal to find metal light switches and the metal ceiling light fitting with no earth at all. It was common to be told the switches gave shocks too.
Many of the radios and nearly all the TVs had a live chassis so that if a knob was broken off (quite common) anyone could touch metal.

Often I'd be asked to rewire a house because the occupiers wanted more sockets and thought that the existing wiring had become very dangerous and were fed up with blown fuses and shocks.

Overlay all of that with the plethora of additional appliances coming onto the market it isn't surprising electrocution peaked in the late 60s.
 21 April 2015 02:35 PM
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John Peckham

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Not me doing my first rewire in 1972 then?

For the avoidance of doubt I regularly pass that building which is still standing and now a nursery.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 21 April 2015 02:45 PM
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John Peckham

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Yes I am Ok with the things you are saying but there was no slowing down of the deaths or flattening of the curve showing gradual change but a definite peak and decline.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 21 April 2015 02:50 PM
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OMS

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VOELCB's and RCD's ?

Or did they just change the recording methodology that year ?

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 April 2015 02:58 PM
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normcall

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More likely due to post war baby boomers actually taking 5 year apprenticeships, being taught practical things and then going out into the wide world putting all their knowledge into practice.
The introduction of PME with higher protection requirements, change in water pipe protection all add up to a change in attitudes.

-------------------------
Norman
 21 April 2015 03:04 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Or the rise in popularity of the motor car resulted in the accident prone being killed outside the house instead of inside?
- Andy.
 21 April 2015 03:59 PM
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normcall

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OK, so just how many death by electric shock have happened outside the house due to the increase in motor vehicle ownership?

-------------------------
Norman
 21 April 2015 04:04 PM
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AJJewsbury

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OK, so just how many death by electric shock have happened outside the house due to the increase in motor vehicle ownership?

I was trying to account for the reduction in the deaths by electric shock post 1972 - those killed by (non-electric) collision weren't available to be killed by electric shock....
- Andy.
 21 April 2015 04:08 PM
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christait

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The Electric Blankets (Safety ) Regulations 1971 might have played a small part, and perhaps also the Fire Precautions Act 1971, I don't think the Nuclear Installations Regulations 1971 would have been involved although it might have stopped a few deaths as well
 21 April 2015 04:24 PM
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OMS

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Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

OK, so just how many death by electric shock have happened outside the house due to the increase in motor vehicle ownership?


I was trying to account for the reduction in the deaths by electric shock post 1972 - those killed by (non-electric) collision weren't available to be killed by electric shock....

- Andy.


LoL - Darwin gonna get you, just needs the opportunity

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 April 2015 05:01 PM
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Zs

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I'd hazard a guess at education JP.

Certainly, one of my Brownie badges was called Safety in the Home and I learned that I mustn't pull a plug out of a socket with wet hands. That'd have been in about 1980 .

Then again it was covered at Junior School.

I'd also guess at more people being able to afford a car and notwithstanding Andy's point about natural selection, I'd also suggest that the electrician became more mobile so fewer people were forced to try and fix it for themselves,

and so on.

I'm not sure about the number three though. I'm sure we talk about more cases than that on here.

Zs
 21 April 2015 05:17 PM
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potential

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Perhaps it was something more bizarre
The late 60s heralded platform shoes and boots, often made out of plastic whereas in comparison most of the shoes I bought before that time had leather soles.
 21 April 2015 05:23 PM
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John Peckham

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Zs

That's it then scrap Part P and BS7671 etc and enroll everyone in the Brownies! Mind you brown is such a sh 1T colour which is why the army wear it, much better a nice blue/grey uniform.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
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