The article below will tell you about the increase in cable strikes since the second lockdown has commenced. It will include some important statistics about the spike and how it has promoted the supply industry’s trade body to raise the alert in construction. It will also give you some useful information & safety guidelines from the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and the importance of their slogan Plan, Scan, Think Before You Dig. 

The below information has been sourced from ‘Construction Enquirer News’ and ‘Energy Network Association’ website.


Underground powerline strikes from July to September alarmingly jumped 20% to 475
incidents compared with the same time last year.

The figures for Q3 are running 46% above the previous quarter (April – June 2020) total of 325.

It is not clear if the surge has come from a rise in utility use in households and roadworks or whether workers that have returned from furlough or from the initial closure of their business’s are now neglecting safety procedures.

The Energy Networks Association released some data at the start of this month which revealed 93% of construction workers believe they always dig safely but almost a third which makes up 31% admitted that they do not always check for underground electricity cables before beginning work.

From the data provided it seems the main reasons workers did not check for underground electricity cables was because they felt it was not their responsibility to do so. ,This represented 15% of people. 24% of people stated that their thinking was that they would not dig deep enough to hit anything.

Despite the danger of threat to life or life threatening injuries almost one in six people said if they did uncover an underground electricity cable encased in concrete, they would attempt to break them out.

Important Information & Guidance from the ENA
(Energy Networks Association)

The Chair of ENA’s Public Safety Committee- Peter Vujanic said: “It’s extremely concerning to hear that even though construction workers are one of the most-at-risk groups of injury involving underground electricity cables, more than one in four fail to check for cables before beginning work.

“With the proper education and support, these issues can be addressed and, ultimately, lives can be saved.”The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has released some life-saving safety guidelines under the slogan: Plan, Scan, Think Before You Dig.

  • Plan ahead – Always be mindful of what services lie below ground when digging or excavating. Ask utility companies for plans in advance.
  • Assess the risks – Identify the dangers and hazards associated with excavations and put controls in place to manage them.
  • Scan and locate – Take care when digging, always locate underground cables before digging with the use of cable avoidance tools.
  • First, use your hands – Before using any electric or mechanical excavation tool, you must consider hand-digging trial holes to expose the services
  • Always assume, that underground cables are live even when damaged.
  • Know who to call – In case of an emergency dial 999 and tell them electricity is involved. Call 105 if you have a safety concern related to the electricity network or if you spot damage to underground cables and substations that could put you, or someone else, in danger.
  • Think Before You Dig

The ENA have also released a new emotional safety film, urging people to ‘Think Before You Dig’.

The ENA have created a Think Before You Dig! campaign toolkit to raise awareness of the risks of underground dangers and the importance of Plan, Scan, Think Before You Dig! The toolkit will give you a range of information and resources to help you promote this campaign.

At BSA we are here to ensure you and your workforce safety comes first. We are involved in wide range of projects as well as offering a variety of services. Please click on the link below to explore:

If you would like to speak to one of our specialists about how we can help you please email or call us on 01483 467270 today!


Keep Safe & Well,

Bernard Sims Associates