The Building Safety Group recently published a report detailing a 31% rise in electricity breaches on construction sites in the first half of 2019 when compared with the same period in 2018. The BSG’s report was based upon 20,000 independent site inspections carried out earlier this year.

Non-compliance data was extracted from the BSG’s Non-compliance Reporting Index, collected for and on behalf of the construction industry through site inspections. The most common infringements and violations found included;

  • Temporary positioning of impermanent supplies around the site
  • Damaged wire sheathing or exposed conductors
  • Damaged or trailing cables

Impact of the 18th Edition

The BSG’s report comes on the back of the updated 18th Edition of the BS7671 Wiring Regulations from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the IET. These require electricians to implement better cable support mechanisms throughout construction sites, especially in relation to how cables are supported in the event of a fire, whereas previously only exit routes had been covered. The changes to the wiring regulations were prompted in part due to the tragic death of two firefighters in 2010 who became entangled in fallen cables.

Mark Coles, Head of technical Regulations at the IET, said “The IET is the authority for electrical installation in the UK and ensures that the National Wiring Regulations Committee carefully considers all necessary updates to the Regulations to ensure they best meet the needs of the industry”. However, while he was not ‘overly surprised’ by the rise in breaches, his ‘worries are increasing’.

Better cable management reduces risk

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. The new IET regulations mean that cables must be adequately supported against their premature collapse in the event of a fire.”

The 18th Edition amendments specifically address cable management in relation to safety and it’s lack of adherence to these amendments that are causing the sharp upturn in on site breaches. This makes it absolutely vital that Electricians are upskilled with their 18th Edition sooner rather than later if both breaches and indeed accidents on site are to be minimised.

It’s important to remember, the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations doesn’t only cover work on construction sites, but also those in domestic dwellings. Competent Person Schemes such as the NICEIC require all members to have updated to the 18th Edition before the end of 2019 to benefit from continued membership. If you are still to update to your C&G 2382-18, take a look at our 18th Edition Wiring Regulations Courses and find out how Trade Skills 4U can help you remain compliant from just £170 + VAT.