- Do a risk assessment in advance to determine the hazards involved in the work activity. This should involve tasks relating to excavations through to working on or near the cables. Think about how electric cables could be disturbed, perhaps by the use of sharp tools, or by being crushed by machinery.
- Obtain the necessary drawings from the utility company so that you know exactly where the cables are – this should include both buried cables and those overhead. Ensure all parties involved in the work have a copy of the drawings.
- Provide training for workers on scanning and also on what different underground cables look like, from electricity through to gas and even telephone lines. Inform them that they must report any damage to cables that occurs during their work.
- Develop a safe system of work for all workers to follow. Whenever possible arrange for the cabling to be made dead by contacting the supplier.
- Make sure that the work is undertaken by trained workers and that it is always supervised by a competent person. Always ensure that workers dig alongside the cable rather than above it, and that they use insulated tools when digging.
Make sure that you have the necessary procedures in place to prevent an accident like this happening to one of your workers.
Contact us for guidance at Walker Health and Safety Services.