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We're urging gardeners to stay safe and avoid any shocks during National Gardening Week

As people across the country are urged to get gardening, we are encouraging people to stay safe and avoid underground strikes of electricity cables.

National Gardening Week is a celebration of gardening and raises awareness of the difference that gardens and gardening can make to the lives of everyone in the UK.

This year's theme is to praise the role of plants and entire gardens for the positive impacts they have on mental and physical health. A OnePoll Survey commissioned by the RHS showed that 52% of people in Britain have experienced feeling alone but more than half of adults enjoy being surrounded by greenery and a further 53% said it boosts their mood.

Eddie Cochrane, WPD Health & Safety Adviser said: “National Gardening Week is a fantastic opportunity to spend some valuable time outdoors and offers huge benefits to our health and wellbeing. We encourage everyone to make the most of the outdoor space but be safe while doing so. It’s important for gardeners to follow our simple tips and know what utilities are underground before they start any work.”

Our advice to help you work safely:

  • Be sure to check for any underground or covered cables or pipes to avoid serious injury.
  • Make sure that they you are aware of any potential underground cables or gas pipes before carrying out any work that involves breaking ground.
  • If you're working in the garden, be aware of underground electricity cables - contact can be fatal.
  • Request location details and plans from utility companies well in advance of work starting. Remember that these are a guide only – you are responsible for confirming the exact location of all equipment and avoiding damage.
  • Use a cable avoidance tool to identify the presence of buried cables before you start to dig. Rescan the area as your work progresses.
  • Hand dig — use safe digging techniques to dig trial holes to establish the line and depth of underground utility equipment.
  • Always assume underground cables are live and gas pipes are pressurised. If they appear to be damaged do not approach them and contact your local electricity network operator using 105.
  • Take care when lowering the ground levels as there may be underground cables in the area.
  • If you damage an underground electricity cable, vacate the excavation immediately, call 105 and keep everybody clear.

For more information on how to stay safe around electricity, visit our safety pages

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