Electrical safety in construction – breaches on construction sites up by 31%

The British Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 31% increase in electricity breaches on construction sites. The report was based on 20,000 independent site inspections carried out in the first six months of 2019, compared with the first six months in 2018.

The most common breaches were damaged and trailing cables (including damaged wire sheathing and exposed conductors), and temporary positioning of non permanent supplies around sites.

Under the new IET wiring regulations, introduced at the beginning of the year, construction sites must be fully compliant with the latest BS7671 wiring laws, particularly in relation to how cables are supported in the event of a fire (i.e. using cable hooks, ties or hangers). This follows the tragic death of two firefighters at Shirley Towers in 2010 who became entangled in fallen cables.

Electrical safety in construction

The law says you must take precautions against the risk of death or injury from electricity. Electrical equipment must be safe, and properly maintained. Only in exceptional circumstances should work be carried out on live systems, and then only by a competent authorised person.

Electrical systems in buildings (http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/systems.htm)

Refurbishment work in buildings presents the greatest risk and must be planned, managed and monitored to ensure that workers are not exposed to risk from electricity.

Overhead power lines (http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/overhead.htm)

Any work near electric overhead power lines must be carefully planned and carried out to avoid danger from accidental contact or close proximity to the lines.

Underground cables (http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/underground.htm)

Damage to underground electrical cables can cause fatal or severe injury you must take precautions to avoid danger. These precautions include a safe system of work based on planning, use of plans, cable locating devices and safe digging practices.


Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.