Gardeners urged to stay safe on spring return

UK Power Networks wants gardeners to put safety first as many spring into action and venture back outside at the end of winter.

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is reminding those with green fingers to stay on red alert when undertaking any digging work.

The company, which distributes electricity to 8.3 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England, needs gardeners to understand that contact with high voltage underground electricity cables can be fatal.

The main risk to gardeners comes with deep digging, but wider advice includes how to stay safe using mowers, ladders and even replacing fence panels which may have been damaged during recent storms.

The top tips for gardeners include:

  • Be aware of the location of underground electricity equipment and request details before work starts. Cable plans can be found at For larger projects use a Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT).
  • When digging deep in the garden, for instance planting trees or installing fence panels, assume all cables are live and hand dig trial holes to check the depth of cables.
  • When mowing the lawn always fit plugs with a Residual Current Device (RCD) to protect against electrocution. This safety device automatically switches off power when there is a fault.
  • If doing outdoor jobs involving a ladder, always look up and look out for overhead power cables, for instance near trees, as contact could cause serious injury or even death.

Debbie Chachulski, Safety Advisor says: “As we move into spring and the better weather many people will be getting out and about more in their gardens, and our advice, when undertaking work yourself, is to stay safe and be aware of electricity infrastructure.

“People do need to scope out any potential locations of underground cables before they carry out any work which involves breaking ground. Gardening can be a relaxing activity, but to stay safe there is always a need to stay focused on the tasks you are doing.”

If gardeners spot a safety issue or need to report a damaged cable, the number to call is 105, while a range of advice and information is available at Safety advice and resources | UK Power Networks

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