Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Power warning for DIY enthusiasts

19 people were injured by potentially fatal electric shocks from Northern Ireland's mains network last year

A total of 19 people were injured by potentially fatal electric shocks from the mains network in Northern Ireland last year, the operator warned.

Builders, farmers and DIY enthusiasts damaged supply lines 1,316 times in the past 12 months, resulting in 65,000 homes, schools and businesses losing power, according to Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE).

NIE recovered £1.3 million from those responsible to cover repair costs.

The operator outlined the consequences of third party damage to the network as it warned people to take the necessary safety precautions when working in the vicinity of overhead lines and underground electricity cables.

Roy Coulter, NIE director of health and safety, stressed the dangers involved in working near electricity equipment without the necessary information and precautions.

"Every year we highlight the dangers involved, and every year people are injured because they do not follow the correct safety guidelines," he said.

"Any contact with live electricity equipment can result in a fatality and contractors must follow correct safety procedures to keep all those on site safe.

"In the last year there have been 19 potentially fatal injuries following contact with the electricity network, all of them avoidable. NIE puts safety at the heart of all our operations - it is time for everyone working near electricity equipment to do the same."

Ken Logan, Principal Inspector with Health and Safety Executive NI, welcomed NIE's awareness campaign.

"Electricity demands our respect - it has killed and will kill again if proper planning and management control are not applied to work in the vicinity of services," he added.

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