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New 'Plan Ahead, Look Around ' Electrical Safety Campaign Launched

Posted: 28th September 2020

Electricity distributor SP Energy Networks has launched a new ‘Plan Ahead, Look Around’
safety campaign to prevent electrical accidents on construction sites.

SP Energy Networks has partnered with leading UK homebuilding trade associations - Home
Builders Federation, Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and Homes For
Scotland - to launch the initiative to encourage the construction industry to follow strict safety
guidelines and reduce the number of electrical incidents.

Reports reveal that to date this year there have been 51 safety incidents on construction sites
and around five people die each year due to accidental contact with overhead power lines.
The use of building machinery and equipment can often bring workers close to these lines -
the most common accidents involve a vehicle being driven into power lines or part of a vehicle
being raised into them.

Accidents are also often caused by the striking of buried power lines during excavation work.
Construction workers can reduce deaths and serious injuries by staying aware of both
overhead and underground power lines.

The campaign has been backed by major housebuilders and construction companies such
as Taylor Wimpey, who are promoting electrical safety information to their teams as part of
ongoing rigorous health and safety training and planning.

Frank Monaghan, Health and Safety Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “The
construction industry has resumed work across the country and must carefully adhere to the
new COVID-19 safety restrictions. While adjusting to new ways of working, it is still incredibly
important for the industry to be aware of electrical hazards on construction sites and the steps
that can be taken to avoid accidents.

“Construction sites can be hazardous environments and ensuring the safety of people working
on them is paramount. Businesses can prevent incidents by planning ahead, looking around
and following guidelines that can keep workers safe. We’re working to raise awareness of the
electrical risks, sharing tips on how to prevent accidents, and are providing ongoing support
through our emergency hotline and online resources.”

SP Energy Networks is sharing the following safety guidelines:

  • Carry out a risk assessment in accordance with HSE Guidance Note HS (G) 47,
  • ‘Avoiding Danger from Underground Services’.
  • Ensure you have up-to-date plans of underground services in the area - SP Energy Networks can supply these if you don’t have them.
  • Include the 105 electrical emergency hotline on your site plans and
    in your list of telephone contacts; then ask your workers to save it in
    their mobiles.
  • Always scan the area you intend to excavate using a Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT)
    and Genny.
  • If emergency work is being carried out and plans aren’t readily available, excavate
    carefully as though there are buried live cables.
  • Be aware that the actions of third parties could have altered cable depths or positions
    since the cables were laid.
  • Mark cable positions using waterproof road paint or another permanent marker.

SP Energy Networks provides free safety advice for those planning to work near power lines
and underground cables. For further information please click here.

Comprehensive advice is also available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to visit please click here.