Failure by a company to check if underground electricity cables were present before starting a job in New Plymouth this week put its workers at risk of serious injury.
An 11kV cable was running directly under where the firm was working. A metal pipe was driven into the ground, hitting the cable and causing a blast.
Powerco Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager Fiona Ewing said it was fortunate no one was injured.
“It could have been a lot worse. Not checking the location of underground services puts people at risk of a serious shock and could even be fatal.”
She said the incident was a timely reminder for all contractors to check where electricity cables or gas pipes were before commencing work.
Powerco is working with the company involved to educate its staff on how to be safe around electricity and gas networks.
Mrs Ewing advised people to go to the www.beforeUdig.co.nz website for details on how to locate underground services. This applies to contractors and property owners.
Underground network services are usually outside properties, so home and business owners should check if there are any in the vicinity if they intend to build a fence, dig trenches or lay a driveway.
“It’s a simple measure to take to ensure you are safe, which is Powerco’s main priority,” Mrs Ewing said.