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Top 10 safety advice tips for excavations

1. Before excavation commences ensure that you have a complete and up to date set of utility plans covering the wholes area to be excavated.

2. Ensure that the personnel on site have the skills and experience to interpret the plans and excavate safely.

3. Never assume the plans are to scale.

4. Use other methods such as CAT (cable avoidance tool) scanning, GPR (ground penetrating radar) used by a competent person to confirm the location of utilities.

    – Don’t rely on the plans to be totally accurate and up to date.
    – Some pipes and cables may be missing particularly local services
    – Cables particularly often snake around other objects and can be hard to follow!

5. Dig trial holes by hand using spade or shovel (as opposed to pick, fork or power tool!)

6. Mark up the actual locations of cables on the plans and on the ground using spray paint etc.

7. Always assume any pipe or cable is live or in use.

    – If excavation is necessary close to pipes / cables make them dead if possible and in all cases ensure that minimum working distances are adhered to.

8. Look out for ducts and marker tapes for more clues but again don’t rely on these

9. If you damage a pipe or cable, no matter how slight, report it immediately to the owner of the utility.

    – Never attempt to repair a problem yourself, no matter how small.

10. When backfilling excavations around a pipe or cable ensure that all pipes/cables are clearly marked with the correct marker tape and backfilled in accordance with the utility owners requirements.