Cable strikes have increased by 20% since lockdown

It has been reported that since lockdown, power cable strikes have spiked. The increase has prompted the supply industry’s trade body, The Energy Network Association (ENA), to raise an alert amongst the construction industry.

Figures show that underground powerline strikes jumped 20% between July and September in comparison to the same time in 2019.

The reason for the surge is unclear, however it may be due to a resumption in utility and roadworks post-lockdown, with workers returning from furlough. It may also be the case that basic safety procedures are being overlooked.

The ENA revealed that 93% of construction workers believe they always dig safely, however almost a third admitted that they do not always check for underground utility cables before they commence work.

The ENA’s research also found that the main reasons workers did not check for underground electricity cables was because they felt like they would not dig deep enough to hit them or that it was simply not their responsibility.

Findings of the report also outlined that within the last 5 years, a total of 354 people have suffered life-changing injuries after striking a live underground electricity cable.

The alarming increase in cable strikes has prompted the ENA to run a campaign titled ‘Plan, Scan, Think Before You Dig’, releasing a new emotive safety film, in addition to new life-saving safety guidelines.

Rock Surveying always recommends carrying out a utility survey on every site before you start to dig.

By taking the time to carry out utility surveys before commencing any construction project, you can determine the location, size and depth of underground utility services, including electrical, gas, drainage and waterworks.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic locators (EML), Rock Surveying can detect, trace and map buried utilities to confirm their exact location within the vicinity of excavations.

We are experienced in delivering fast, efficient and accurate utility surveys in high risk, urban and rural locations, supporting the prevention of utility strikes, resulting workforce injuries and project delays.

We are also members of the Utility Strike Avoidance Group to ensure the highest standards of safety and best practice when carrying out work, to avoid disrupting supplies through accidental strikes on utilities in the ground.

To learn more about the importance of utility surveying or to speak to one of our team, contact us today at or call 01905 456 384.

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