Cable strikes jump 20% since lockdown

Aaron Morby 1 month ago
Share

Power cable strikes have spiked since lockdown prompting the supply industry’s trade body to raise the alert in construction.

Since 2015, an average of 70 people a year were seriously injured in electricity cable strikes
Since 2015, an average of 70 people a year were seriously injured in electricity cable strikes

Underground powerline strikes from July to September alarmingly jumped 20% to 475 incidents compared with the same time last year.

The figures for Q3 are running 46% above the previous quarter (April – June 2020) total of 325.

It is not clear whether the surge has come from a rise in utility and roadworks or whether workers returning from furlough or shutdown are now neglecting basic safety procedures.

Research released today by the Energy Networks Association reveals 93% of construction workers believed they always dig safely, yet almost a third (31%) admitted to not always checking for underground electricity cables before beginning work.

Despite the threat to life, the main reasons workers did not check for underground electricity cables was because they felt it was not their responsibility (15%), or they would not dig deep enough to hit anything (24%).

Worryingly, almost one in six said if they uncovered an underground electricity cable encased in concrete, they would attempt to break them out, which could put them at immediate risk of life-threatening injuries.

To hammer the safety message home the ENA has released new emotive safety film, urging people to ‘Think Before You Dig’

Peter Vujanic, Chair of ENA’s Public Safety Committee said: “It’s extremely concerning to hear that even though construction workers are one of the most-at-risk groups of injury involving underground electricity cables, more than one in four fail to check for cables before beginning work.

“With the proper education and support, these issues can be addressed and, ultimately, lives can be saved.”

ENA has also released life-saving safety guidelines under the slogan: Plan, Scan, Think Before You Dig

  • Plan ahead – Always be mindful of what services lie below ground when digging or excavating. Ask utility companies for plans in advance.
  • Assess the risks – Identify the dangers and hazards associated with excavations and put controls in place to manage them.
  • Scan and locate – Take care when digging, always locate underground cables before digging with the use of cable avoidance tools.
  • First, use your hands – Before using any electric or mechanical excavation tool, you must consider hand-digging trial holes to expose the services
  • Always assume, that underground cables are live even when damaged.
  • Know who to call – In case of an emergency dial 999 and tell them electricity is involved. Call 105 if you have a safety concern related to the electricity network or if you spot damage to underground cables and substations that could put you, or someone else, in danger.
  • Think Before You Dig

The industry is also increasingly turning to vacuum excavation as a safer alternative to traditional digging techniques.

Leading specialist Vac UK has recently invested £15m in a new fleet of suction excavators to help reduce cable strikes.

Latest news

Wates names new head of Prism offsite business

Dan Sadler promoted to offsite manufacturing director of Coventry business
32 mins ago

British Land submits Broadgate towers plan

Plans in for 37 and 22-storey towers at 2 Finsbury Avenue
4 hours ago

Double-decker temporary fix for Hammersmith Bridge

Plan for temporary truss bridge within Hammersmith Bridge to allow critcal repairs
5 hours ago

L&G modular homes losses exceed £100m

Factory is building homes for first full self-delivery scheme of 154 homes in Selby
5 hours ago

Construction minister to oversee Covid vaccine rollout

Nadhim Zahawi will now focus on vaccine deployment until at least next summer
2 days ago

Morgan Sindall wins £26m Great Yarmouth leisure centre

Work to start shortly on Golden Mile seafront site
5 hours ago

Robertson on board for £150m Cardiff Bay arena

Contractor part of consortium chosen to deliver 15,000 seat arena
3 days ago

Project manager and director sentenced after dumper death

Suspended jail sentences for pair after Court hears how untrained and unsupervised worker died on site
3 days ago

Green light for Barratt 450-home Wembley Park scheme

Barratt and TfL joint venture to start second major scheme next year
3 days ago

Barhale lays foundations for £200m Barnsley revamp

Sewer diversion works to pave way for next phase of The Glass Works
3 days ago

Bouygues E&S Contracting battles to return to profit

Bouygues Energies & Services Contracting arm suffers third year of losses
3 days ago

Conlon sees strong orders for 2021

North West building contractor sees much brighter prospects ahead
3 days ago

GMI starts £10m Leeds spec office scheme

Regional office market stirs back to life as Leeds King Street scheme starts
3 days ago

Lendlease director joins Munnelly Support Services

Darren Butson brings experience of major regen schemes like Elephant Park
3 days ago

Michelmersh sees surge in brick sales

Brick maker to beat market forecasts and pay back furlough cash
3 days ago

Angle grinder explodes old petrol tank during demolition

Vapours ignite leaving construction worker with burns to 26% of his body
4 days ago

Tideway chiefs overpaid £349,000 after “admin error”

Directors to pay back incorrect awards as project makes good progress despite pandemic
5 days ago

TClarke orders soar 17% to £422m

Revenue for 2021 now set to hit £257m well above 2020 level
4 days ago

Funding deal for world’s biggest offshore wind farm

Historic deal for £6bn first two phases of Dogger Bank
4 days ago

Bidding starts in New Year for £4bn levelling up fund

Civil engineering contractors prepare for a busy 2021
5 days ago

Construction Manager of the Year crowned

Frank Connolly of Mace wins coveted prize - full list of winners
4 days ago

Hyatt to build new luxury hotel in Battersea

Major boost for capital and expanding Nine Elms development
4 days ago

Morgan Sindall lands £36m Aylesbury school job

Latest win under Southern Construction Framework
5 days ago

Chancellor lays bare staggering cost of Covid response

Pandemic spending hits £280bn and rising as economy set to recover by end of 2022
5 days ago

HS2 opens bidding for first works on phase 2a

Enabling works for Crewe to Birmingham route worth £50m
6 days ago

Balfour Beatty appoints new construction chief

Mark Bullock to replace Dean Banks as CEO of construction services
6 days ago

Wates launches zero carbon home retrofit service

Contractor targets social housing sector for high volume retrofit programme
5 days ago

Skanska joins switch to electric company cars

Company car EV First initiative starts in December
6 days ago

Willmott Dixon starts £18m Warrington science park

Work starts on Project Violet office build in Daresbury
5 days ago

Boot seals deal for Black Country logistics park

Logistics development plan for Pheonix 10 takes off
5 days ago

Contractor services