05 September 2023
Electricity breaches up 12% on construction sites
The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 12% increase in the number of electricity breaches occurring on construction sites. The report was based on 30,000 site inspections conducted by BSG, which compared 2021 with 2022.
The most widespread types of infringement included damaged and trailing cables as well as the temporary position of impermanent supplies around the site. Damaged wire sheathing or exposed conductors were also common violations recorded by BSG advisers, as well as a lack of electrical installation certificates for temporary sites.
About 1000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annually. Around 30 of these are fatal. Even non-fatal shocks can cause severe and permanent injury. Shocks from faulty equipment may lead to falls from ladders, scaffolds, or other work platforms. Those using electricity may not be the only ones at risk: poor electrical installations and faulty electrical appliances can lead to fires which may also cause death or injury to others.
Factors that often contribute to construction sites being at high electrical risk are:
- Work usually takes place be in and around buildings and in a variety of weather conditions
- Electrical supply is often connected by extension leads, electrical portable outlet devices (EPODs), construction wiring and construction switchboards, increasing the risk of mechanical damage to cables and equipment
- Breaches of exclusion zones around overhead and underground powerlines
- Work sites are busy, and the workforce is constantly changing
BSG Safety Adviser for Scotland, Scott Lynch, commented: “Working with electricity in any environment can be highly dangerous but particularly so on a construction site where the hazards have the potential to be on a much bigger scale”. Scott added “It’s often a lack of awareness that causes the most damage so it’s essential that anyone required to work on a construction site understands the risks and knows how to act to avoid themselves, or anyone else, coming to harm because of electricity. Most accidents can be avoided by careful planning and straightforward precautions.”
For advice on how to best manage electricity safely on site please contact BSG Safety Adviser Scott Lynch 07779 433 912 or call BSG’s Technical Support Manager, Andy Harper 0300 304 9070.