Whether you’re carrying out work in the house and garden, or on farmland, woodland, or industrial buildings, there will always be potential danger of electric shock from nearby electricity supply.

 

How do you ensure electrical safety in the home?

 

Structural work in the home brings with it the risk of contact with electrical cables. So, before beginning work, take steps to eliminate hazards. While you’re working, ensure that all possible precautions are taken.

 

  • Look around for signs of power supply and work out where the wires are. Locate installed appliances, such as boilers and smoke alarms. Where are the light switches and plug sockets?
  • Study your electrical installation certificate for information about the number of electrical points in specific areas of the property. Although this document won’t specify the position of cables, sockets, or switches, you can use it to ensure that all sockets and switches have been identified.
  • Use a cable detector to locate electrical wiring.
  • Turn off the power supply and make sure that you – and only you – have the means to turn it on again. For your own safety, and for the safety of others, maintain control.
  • Whilst carrying out the work, wear appropriate protective clothing and use minimum-risk equipment.
  • If you are in any doubt about safety measures, seek advice from a competent person.

 

How do you ensure electrical safety when excavating?

 

Concealed cables can be damaged if they’re cut with a sharp tool. They’ll also be damaged if crushed by heavy equipment. And previously damaged cables, which have not been repaired, can also be hazardous.

 

  • Use a cable avoidance tool (CAT) to locate buried electrical cables. Mark their position on the surface with string between pegs in the ground.
  • Having located a cable close to the work site, excavate alongside it. Once the cable is in plain view, remove the soil above it. With the cable fully exposed, it can be avoided.
  • When hand-digging close to electric cables, use insulated tools.
  • If you are in any doubt about safety measures, seek advice from a competent person.

 

How do you ensure electrical safety when working near overhead power lines?

 

When you’re carrying out work at a height – for example, roof repair or tree surgery – there could well be overhead power lines nearby. Contact with live power lines can cause serious injury and death. If your work is close to a power line, it’s advisable to contact your distribution network operator, who will cut off your power supply while work is being carried out.

 

Electricity lines and cables in the UK are owned by seven different distribution network operators. Each operator services one or two regions of the country. These companies are:

 

 

If you are in any doubt about safety measures, seek advice from a competent person.