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Steep rise in electrical breaches on sites

There has been a 31 per cent increase in electricity breaches on construction sites, according to the Building Safety Group.

The organisation collected data from 10,000 UK site inspections in the first six months of 2019 and compared it with the first six months of 2018.

According to the group, the most common violations were damaged and trailing cables, the temporary placement of materials, damaged wire sheathing and exposed conductors.

The group highlighted updates to wiring regulations, known as BS 7671, which came into force at the start of this year. These require construction firms to implement better cable support mechanisms throughout their sites, whereas previously only exit routes had only been covered.

Mark Coles, head of technical regulations at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which published the BS 7671 standards, said he was not “overly surprised” by the rise in breaches, but said his “worries are increasing”.

Mr Coles claimed the rise in breaches was due to “pressure on the installation [and] contracting industry to meet targets, meet budgets and turn a profit”.

“Installers are forced to cut corners; inspectors and those signing off the installations are not fulfilling their obligations.”

Annual updates to the regulations were prompted after the death of two firefighters in 2010 who became tangled in cables at Shirley Tower, Southampton.

BSG safety adviser Craig McCarter said: “Construction fires can spread rapidly because of the flammable materials exposed and contained within a site.

“Knowing how cables can be better managed will significantly reduce the risk to workers as well as emergency crews.”

In January, a Construction News investigation found a 43 per cent rise in deliberately started construction site fires between 2015-2017.

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