Avoiding Danger from Underground Cables

Underground services, particularly electricity and gas can be extremely dangerous.

  • damage to electricity cables can cause a dangerous explosion or electrocution, leading to severe burns or death. Gas leaks can cause fire and explosion
  • damage can result from excavation or penetration of the ground (e.g. by a road pin)

Underground electricity cables may be found in roads, footpaths and on sites and gardens. Always assume that they may be present. Treat any services found anywhere as live.

Accidents have happened because people have mistaken one service for another e.g. black plastic covered electricity cables look like plastic water pipes and cast iron gas and water mains look alike. Check before you act!

Legislation requires that both employers and employees take reasonable care when excavating to prevent risk from any underground electricity services.

It is strongly recommended that the advice given in Health and Safety Executive guidance document HSG47 ‘Avoiding Danger from Underground Services’ is followed when undertaking groundwork. Appendix 1 deals specifically with electric cables. Copies are available from booksellers and from Manx Utilities.

CONTACT US before commencing any excavation work, be it sitework or just planting a tree. Select Dial B 4 U Dig to find out more about our FREE advisory service.