Power company warns of DIY dangers

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is urging homeowners planning DIY jobs in and around the home to stay safe and be aware of the dangers with the launch of a new campaign.

UK Power Networks wants to highlight the risk of coming into contact with power cables both inside and outside of the home.

Figures from the past year show that 259 of 700 such incidents in the areas UK Power Networks serve occurred in the home (more than a third at 37%) with the majority in the summer to autumn period. Of these, half were in the East of England.

Former Big Brother winner and DIY expert Craig Phillips is helping the Energy Networks Association spread the word on social media through a video filmed in Epping.

Key advice for specific DIY tasks including outdoors:

  • Drilling: Always use a cable detector when drilling. Electricity cables can be hidden in walls and below floors
  • 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
  • Digging deep in the garden: When planting trees, removing tree stumps, or installing fence panels be mindful of underground cables and the risk they pose
  • Ladders: When doing outdoor jobs at height always look up and look out for overhead power cables, as contact could be fatal.

Nathan Hughes, a safety advisor at UK Power Networks, says: “Because we are more comfortable at home it is easier to become complacent or distracted. Accidents can happen if people are not mindful of the dangers around electricity cables both underground and overhead.

“We are urging people to take care when they begin jobs and remember that power cables can be hidden out of sight. In the past year, over a dozen people in the UK have been killed coming into contact with electricity networks. Typically, dozens more receive serious injuries each year.”

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