Buried cable identification
In September 2016, at a project site, a construction worker suffered burns to his face and hands after picking up a cable termination box on a live three-phase 400v cable thinking it was a piece of rubbish. His employer had been aware there were live underground cables at the site but workers had not been informed and no prior cable location scaning or avoidance was carried out prior to commencing digging. The investigating HSE inspector said the victim was extremely lucky to escape with superficial burns.
The majority of accidents involving underground cable services are caused by contractors and subcontractors either failing to locate cables before excavation with suitable cable avoidance tools (CAT’s) or not taking all practicable precautions while the excavation is in progress.
As with other areas of hazard management, it is safest to expect the worst – you should always assume that live underground electric cable services are present until it is proved otherwise. It is essential to devise and implement a safe system of work which ensures that those responsible gather all the available information on buried cable services in the area and locate services as accurately as possible with cable detection (Ezi-CAT) or cable avoidance tools (CAT’s).