Housing and home safety

An overview of government policy and initiatives relating to housing and home safety.

NICE guidance

The NICE guidance on preventing unintentional injuries among under-15s in the home3 focuses on home safety assessments and the supply and installation of home safety equipment. It also covers education and advice when delivered as part of these interventions. The recommendations in the guidance include:

  • prioritising households at greatest risk of unintentional injuries
  • establishing partnerships to ensure coordinated delivery
  • following up on home safety assessments and equipment interventions.

The guidance makes it clear that all practitioners visiting the homes of families with young children should give consideration to home safety issues.

Building regulations

Building regulations apply to most new buildings in England and Wales. A series of ‘approved documents’ deal with issues such as fire safety, electrical safety and the use of safety glass. As a result of changes made in 2009, new homes must be fitted with thermostatic mixing valves to reduce the risk of bath water scalding.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Act 2004 requires local authorities and other landlords to conduct health and safety risk assessments for residential properties, using the HHSRS. The tool covers the major home hazards including those which contribute to accidental injury.

Product safety regulations

Product safety regulations and the work of local trading standards officers help to reduce risks from faulty or dangerous consumer goods. There are specific regulations covering various aspects of children’s clothing, toys and equipment, as well as requirements for the fire resistance of household furniture and furnishings, the safety of glass used in furniture and the packaging of medicines and chemicals.

Updated July 2013