Construction work is not limited to the structures you see up the ground. It’s also about what happens beneath your feet – something that’s mostly hidden like underground water and electricity supply lines (utility) – providing life and usefulness to structures you see, live and work in.
And digging is not the safest of activity known to mankind; to the contrary it poses huge risk to existing underground utilities as well as people working on them. Resultant utility damage can be both expensive and dangerous: you’ll lose your time, money and productivity in undoing the damage, and then there is severe compensation to pay apart from the risk of injunction.
So is there a way – some tips maybe – to keep the utility damage to minimum? Well, there is. Learning from the big boys – large construction companies – we have compiled few simple tactics to help you prevent utility damages.
Follow a standard practice model to reduce the risks
The best way to reduce the risk is to adopt a standard practice model. That means…
- Using the best tools, always
- Implementing and following safe working practices
- Monitoring and improving on-site behaviours
1) Using the best tools, always:
Risk of utility damage is more when you are oblivious to existence of any utility. You can change that by using Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT) and accompanying signal generator (Genny). Once you are aware of utility existence underground, you are extra careful while digging and that’s significantly cut down on potential damages to utility. Looking for a CAT ideal for your job? Radiodetection’s C.A.T4 products may serve you well. They all feature automatic dual-frequency receivers that find more cables, as well as the ability to work reliably even in areas of high electrical interference.
2) Implementing and following safe working practices:
You can’t find a guide better than the UK’s HSG47 2014. From how to plan excavations to locate buried utilities, tips to safeguard workers to minimize damages to utilities, it has everything needed for safe excavation. Companies’ documented practices should encompass using the CATs correctly as well as the other aspects of HSG47. CAT training is vital to ensure that operators are competent. Always chose a training provider who can demonstrate expertise with your chosen CAT product.
3) Monitoring and improving on-site behaviours:
Even the best of tools and safety guidelines mean nothing if you can’t put them to use as instructed. Radiodetection’s “Cable Avoidance Tools” helps in this by automatically recording all the vital parameters like: signals being detected, mode being used, depth of the located service and many more. This stored data is used to see if tools are being used and process is followed correctly. Would you also like to know about areas of improvement? It has you covered.
With range of tools and online management systems available at a fraction of cost of what utility damage will result in, it makes sense for construction agencies to use them. This will, invariably, be good for health of both workers as well as the company.
Have a safe and productive work environment!