Dorset residents planning on working on garden projects over the weekend have been warned of the dangers they may unknowingly be facing.

With many garden centres and DIY stores reopening in time for the May Bank Holiday, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is reminding the public to take caution if attempting DIY work over the long weekend.

SSEN has recorded 23 incidents in central southern England since March, where members of the public had come into contact with electrical equipment whilst doing DIY work in the garden.

Some 26 percent of these incidents showed potential for serious injury and were therefore reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

Despite acknowledging the majority of people will only be looking to carry out minor works, SSEN but wants to raise awareness of the potential dangers of striking an underground cable for anyone planning on digging or excavating grounds on a larger scale.

Smaller, garden based projects, such as turning topsoil or digging flowerbeds shouldn’t present a risk, however tasks that require deeper digging or driving poles and fence posts into the ground could potentially raise issues if people are unaware of what lies underneath.

With this in mind, SSEN is asking its customers to contact them for safety advice and to check cable locations before they attempt any improvements or ground clearing.

Ian Crawley, SSEN’s Networks Operational Safety Manager, said: “Now we’re seeing the gradual increase of stores opening that provide gardening equipment and power tools, we want to make sure that our customers stay safe as they go about their gardening or DIY projects.

“Since March SSEN has recorded 23 incidents in central southern England where members of the public have accidentally come in to contact with our equipment while working in their gardens. While some of these incidents resulted in injury – and, thankfully, those injuries were minor - they all had the potential to have had a more serious, if not fatal, outcome. We want to protect our customers from harm, while preventing the risk of any damage to the electricity network, which is playing such an important part in the nation’s fight against coronavirus.

Mr Crawley continued: “We want everyone to enjoy this Bank Holiday weekend and any of the tasks they might be working on in and around their homes and gardens, so we’re asking our customers to think about the work they intend to do and visit our website or call us for some free and helpful safety advice.”

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