Underground cables are situated in public highways and roads, paths and fields across the country, and while buried and unnoticed, they are essential to provide electricity to homes and businesses across the UK.
Houses, offices, shops, factories and street furniture all have electric cables supplying them. The cables carry voltages ranging from 230 volts (domestic voltage) up to 400,000 volts. Even domestic voltage cables can be fatal and can be buried outside homes and in driveways.
Each year people suffer significant life changing injuries as a result of accidentally striking underground cables with the lives of families also suffering as a result. The risk of danger can be considerably reduced by following some simple safety tips.
Underground services can be found and disturbed during street work, road work, excavation, drilling and piling, gardening, demolition and site remediation, site investigations and any other work that involves penetrating the ground at or below surface level.
Before beginning any excavations be mindful and dig safely. Make sure you have current copies of underground utlity record plans from the local network operator. If you can't find underground utilities shown on the plan, never assume they're not there — contact your network operator.
Where overhead powerlines are in the vicinity, be mindful that metal and anything wet conducts electricity, so always carry long objects parallel with the ground — never vertically. Contact with an electricity powerline through a long object is just as dangerous as touching the line directly
If your work damages a gas pipe, don't leave it, you must report it right away