Number of electricity cable strikes during construction work rises

Builders have been warned to prioritise electrical safety after data has shown the scale of cable-damage incidents linked with building work.

The data from electricity distributor UK Power Networks, which covers London, the South East and East of England, highlights that 23 per cent of cable-damage incidents in 2021 involved building work, which was the highest incidence rate among the trades.

UK Power Networks’ coverage spans more than 8 million businesses and homes in the region.

It warned that construction workers could be at risk of serious harm when carrying out cable-related building activities, or when using equipment such as lifting equipment, ladders, pneumatic drills and other hand tools.

UK Power Networks safety adviser Ros Forbes said: “Working as a builder near our networks, whether they be underground cables, overhead lines or electricity substations, can place employers and employees at risk of serious injury if the risks are not properly considered.”

Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry said that building sites are “dangerous environments”, especially where live cables are present. He urged builders to keep up to date with the latest safety guidelines on working around live wires.

UK Power Networks reiterated that it was essential for builders to plan ahead for cable safety on site. Other recommendations included marking cables clearly, using cable detectors on walls and roofs, disconnecting wires before demolition work, and communication with fellow workers about the location of cables.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, which regulates workplace safety in the UK, three construction workers died from the handling of electricity between April and December 2021. It was the second major cause of death, after falls from height.

Leave a comment