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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Wedding marquee safety warnings
Power lines
Electricity can jump from overhead power lines like lightning
The death of a man electrocuted as he was trying to supply power to a wedding marquee has led to safety warnings.

EDF Energy was called to make the scene safe in Guildford, Surrey, on 21 July, after the workman died instantly.

An EDF spokesman said the death was being investigated by police and the Health and Safety Executive.

The company also dealt with a wedding marquee put up two metres below a high voltage line in Norfolk in June - close enough for electricity to jump the gap.

The incident in Kings Lynn, which involved a marquee set up for 500 guests, is being investigated by public safety officials from the trade body, The Performance Textiles Association.

Electricity can jump across gaps - just like lightning - and it can kill
Jim Whittaker

The electricity company said staff were faced with a "stark choice" of ordering the marquee to be dismantled and moved at the 11th hour, or disconnecting the power supply to the whole village.

"Very simply, if you are near an overhead line, take extra care and move further away," safety director Jim Whittaker said.

"When people are out they are focused on having fun and can sometimes forget about overhead lines.

"Electricity can jump across gaps - just like lightning - and it can kill."

People pitching marquees and tents have been warned to ensure there are no underground cables nearby when using metal tent pegs, to look out for overhead lines, and to take care when carrying objects near overhead lines.

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