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Energy distributor UK Power Networks has reminded construction workers to take special care near live cables.

In 2021, 23% of people touching live cables were builders, which was more than any other trade. There is particular concern about small builders working on homes or extensions without requesting cable plans before starting work. Workers' risks increase when using spades, diggers, lifting equipment and hammer drills.

The chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry said:

"Building sites are dangerous environments for many reasons, especially if electrical cables are involved. Health and safety procedures are therefore paramount to the smooth running and safety of a project."

Contact with electricity can cause serious burns and could even be fatal, but simple safety measures can prevent injury.

All workers on a site, including subcontractors, should be aware of where cables are located, whether overhead or below ground. If a damaged cable is discovered, this needs to be reported by calling 105.

Electrical PPE (personal protective equipment) including rubber gloves, sleeves and safety shoes should be worn by onsite electricians working near live cables. Welders need to wear hoods and protective clothing to prevent injury from arc flashes, and the power supply should be disconnected before any demolition work starts.

UK Power Networks regularly advises industry and professional groups on electrical safety and how to avoid contact with live cables. Before starting any work, builders can request cable plans from the UK Power Networks Website.

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