There’s a common saying that goes “if I can’t see it, it’s not there”. If only this were true about many things in life! Unfortunately, it is not and in some instances, ignoring the reality can result in a very dangerous situation.

Having damaged underground electrical cables is one such example. So, how do you avoid underground cable damage? And what do you do if it is too late?

Understanding underground cables

Electrical cables can run one of two ways: overhead and underground. Underground cables are used to prevent potential damage from strong winds as well as improve the aesthetics of the area. Let’s be honest, power cables are not the most attractive sight to see. When in doubt – it is always wise to just assume that they are there.

That means that extra care must be taken when digging holes – regardless of the purpose. We recently attended a maintenance job where cables got damaged. These were left unnoticed and the deterioration only worsened the situation.

The above pictures demonstrate a slightly damaged cable that worsened over time when left unattended. The electricity kept tripping and the cable needed to be repaired.

The good news is that it is possible to repair damaged cables. With that being said, it is important to understand the dangers of what could happen if the cables were left damaged and unattended.

Protected underground cables

A protective casing once the cables were repaired

Dangers of damaged underground cables

Locating underground cables can be complicated, and it is best left to the professionals. If you suspect that your cables are damaged – or if you plan to do any work that requires digging across what could be a power line – always be sure to call a professional and go through the necessary steps for optimal safety.

Damaged underground electrical cables can have terrible consequences and cause significant damage. They introduce the risk of an explosion or electrocution which can lead to burns and even death.

Another risk is causing damage to other existing electrical assets that are underground or disrupting general electricity supply. This can affect both homes and businesses, not to mention costing money and time to fix!

Preventing damage

In addition to underground electrical cables, there could also be the likes of gas pipes and water pipes. The best way to prevent damage to any underground asset is to contact a qualified and registered professional who is up to date on the building requirements.

Firstly, it is important to have an up-to-date site map that highlights all underground assets. This will allow for the accurate mapping out of the surface area, highlighting where the ground can and can’t be dug up. Another way to prevent damage is to use the best equipment that is specially designed for the job.

If you suspect any underground damage, or if you are planning a big project that requires excavation and deep digging, be sure to contact a professional and reduce any unnecessary damage or costs.