As some garden centres and DIY stores reopen in time for the May Bank Holiday, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is reminding its customers to exercise some caution when undertaking larger projects in the home and garden.
Since March, SSEN has recorded 23 incidents in central southern England where members of the public have accidentally come in to contact with its equipment while working in their gardens; over a quarter (26%) of those incidents showed potential for serious injury or worse, and as a result were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The distribution operator for central southern England is aware that many of its customers will only be looking to carry out minor works, but wants to provide safety guidance and raise awareness of the potential dangers of striking an underground cable for anyone planning on digging or excavating grounds on a bigger scale.
Smaller projects around the garden, such as turning topsoil or digging flowerbeds shouldn’t present any risk, but tasks that require deeper digging or driving poles and fence posts can raise issues if people are unaware of what lies under the ground. With this in mind, SSEN is asking its customers to contact them for some essential safety advice and to check cable locations before they embark on any improvements or ground clearing.
Ian Crawley, SSEN’s Networks Operational Safety Manager, said:
“Now we’re seeing the gradual increase of stores opening that provide gardening equipment and power tools, we want to make sure that our customers stay safe as they go about their gardening or DIY projects.
“Since March SSEN has recorded 23 incidents in central southern England where members of the public have accidentally come in to contact with our equipment while working in their gardens. While some of these incidents resulted in injury – and, thankfully, those injuries were minor – they all had the potential to have had a more serious, if not fatal, outcome. We want to protect our customers from harm, while preventing the risk of any damage to the electricity network, which is playing such an important part in the nation’s fight against coronavirus.
“We want everyone to enjoy this Bank Holiday weekend and any of the tasks they might be working on in and around their homes and gardens, so we’re asking our customers to think about the work they intend to do and visit our website or call us for some free and helpful safety advice.”
For more information, visit https://www.ssen.co.uk/GeneralEnquiries/OutsideYourHome/UndergroundAssessment/ or go to SSEN’s full online safety library at https://www.ssen.co.uk/SafetyLeaflets/ for advice on safer working in the garden and other activities.