There has been an increase in live electric cables being left in a dangerous state on UK building sites – including hanging from a fence, tacked onto a piece of wood and even dumped in a wheelie bin.
The warning from UK Power Networks comes after their engineers saw the number of incidents of interference with the electricity network triple last year.
Between April 2022 and March this year there have been over 1,000 instances of interference across London, the East and South East of England.
Power workers are now finding unsafe sites on a regular basis and bosses at UK Power Networks are reminding builders, demolition workers and homeowners to call experts to cut through or move live electricity cables.
Electricity Surveyor Chris Slattery attends properties where customers have requested alterations to their electricity service, a new connection or an upgrade.
He said: “A lot of the jobs have to be reported as dangerous or unsafe because a customer has had a power cable moved.
“Many customers say they didn’t know the live cables couldn’t be moved by anyone, others say they knew someone who would do it cheaply.
“I have seen live electricity supplies left hanging off a wall, left on the floor or even left in a wheelie bin!
“Also a lot of sites we are asked to attend are unsafe because they are a complete mess underfoot and we have to abort our visit until it is safe to set foot on the site.”
“Potential to cause life changing injuries”
The firm offer a range of free safety advice including reminders to always plan work, use cable avoidance tools and employ professional electricians to complete tasks.
Education and Engagement Advisor Ros Forbes regularly speaks at industry events to remind site workers to work safely.
She said: “The sort of situations that have been discovered, have the potential to cause life changing injuries – or even death.
“A lot of these sites are relatively open to the public so that can result in a danger, not just to the builders on the job and tradespeople who follow them on to the site, but also to members of the public, as well as our own staff.
“Building tradespeople are a key target for us in order to communicate the safety message.
“In their eagerness to crack on with the job, some builders are putting themselves and others at considerable risk, and every accident is wholly avoidable.”
UK Power Networks ensures electricity flows safely and reliably from the national grid to local customers’ homes and businesses.
Cable plans showing where electricity cables run, can be found on the UK Power Networks website before starting any work.
Report any emergency incident involving electricity cables, or damaged cabling, by dialing 105.
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