Cable Avoidance is Key to Ensuring Safe Digging Practices

Reference & EducationEducation

  • Author Peter Ashcroft
  • Published November 25, 2019
  • Word count 645

Locating underground cables and wires is the first step to making sure safe digging. When underground assets are damaged, people can be injured or killed by electrical arcs, electric shock or flames. Moreover, cable strikes mean loss of company reputation, temporary interruption of utility services, and repair and replacement costs. All of this can make your excavation expensive and it might even delay the completion of the project. If the losses are too high or too many workers are injured, you might struggle to hire others for your future projects. That is why it is recommended that excavation and construction firms carry out a thorough detection of underground utilities before digging.

The following things are usually followed to make sure that underground utilities are detected and located.

Planning the work

Just like everything else, it is important to make a plan before going ahead with the digging project. The plan must include risk assessments, which should consider how the project is going to be carried out, making sure that local circumstances are taken into account.

Making use of site maps

After the project has been planned and you have decided on an area to dig, it is crucial to take a look at the site map of that particular area. This will give you a brief idea of where underground utilities might be located and buried. However, bear in mind that site maps are often outdated and you cannot fully trust them. Since cities are expanding at an exponential rate, it is possible that utility companies have increased their cable lines or added more wires and gas supply lines to cater to the rising demands. So, you need to look for an updated site map, but again, do not completely trust it. Use the map to get an idea of where the cables might be present.

Use cable avoidance tools

Thanks to technological advancements, cable avoidance tools are easily available in the market. Some of the tools are highly advanced and comes equipped with features like, preparing a report as you are surveying the area. Amongst all the other tools, construction workers trust CAT & Genny as they are considered to be the most reliable cable avoidance tools.

CAT & Genny have to be used together. Whilst CAT is able to detect and locate live cables and wires, Genny puts a signal on cables or wires that are not being used. However, not everyone can use these tools and survey an area. To locate underground utilities, the surveyor needs to have completed cable avoidance training from a reputed and professional training company. Also, the surveyor needs to have a certification. Such precautions are in place because everybody cannot use CAT & Genny. These specialised devices do come with an instruction manual, but only through professional training one is able to find out of the limitations of the tools.

Implementing safe digging practices

When the underground utilities are detected and their locations are marked, the workers have to be intimated of the same. When digging, the workers must steer clear of the marked areas where there are buried utilities. Also, they must have the proper gear and wear proper uniform. Some companies believe that it is best to offer the workers with some knowledge of cable avoidance so that they are more careful whilst working.

In the UK, there are yearly 60,000 cable strikes yearly. This is a serious issue as it injures workers, delays projects and causes inconvenience to the buildings in and around the excavation site. Also, the project becomes too expensive for the construction firm. Fortunately, cable strikes can be avoided if you gain the knowledge of using CAT & Genny. By avoiding cable strike, you will not just create a safe work environment, but also save your company from having to shell out more money for repairing or replacing the buried cables. So, find a training provider.

Sygma Solutions Ltd. is a trusted provider of cable avoidance training in the UK. The training course teaches candidates the correct use of cable avoidance tools like, CAT & Genny. It also imparts knowledge on the risks of cable strikes.

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