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Working outside? Don’t ignore hidden dangers of electricity

Working outside or doing DIY in the garden carries hidden dangers that can result in life-changing injury and even death.

Before starting work outside, people often forget to look out for overhead power lines attached to poles and pylons, or cables and wires above their heads, sometimes with terrible consequences.

These electrical hazards may be out of sight, hidden in bushes and trees or even mistaken for harmless telephone cables.

Recent incidents include:

  • A builder who fell from his ladder and was injured after the ladder made contact with an overhead powerline.
  • The death of a tipper lorry driver whose vehicle made contact with an overhead powerline.
  • A gardener who was fatally injured when his strimmer made contact with an overhead powerline, while hedge cutting.
  • A lucky escape for a householder whose six foot long window cleaning tool touched an overhead electricity cable.

Every year, we are called out to incidents like these in which members of the public have been injured or worse while working close to electrical equipment, such as power lines.

Eddie Cochrane, Health and Safety Adviser at WPD, said: “It’s vital that people take notice of these hidden dangers because coming into contact with them can be fatal.

“If you’re using ladders, going up scaffolding or using tools to reach high places, when cleaning gutters or trimming high hedges, you need to be aware of what’s around you. Look out and look up for hidden dangers. Let’s get the job done safely.”

People are urged to plan in advance and to contact us for advice, if they are working close to, or have any concerns about, electrical equipment.

In an emergency, call 105 and keep everybody clear. For more information on how to stay safe around electricity, visit our safety pages.

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