Among the many underground service location practices, electronic detection is the safest and the most accurate method. EMF technology is used for locating pipes and cables under the surface.
There are some best practices all industrial construction companies must follow for underground service locating to ensure the workers and the general public is safe:
1. Dial before you dig
It’s a national community service that connects users of the excavation with the owners of the underground service in the particular area via a referral system. This eliminates the need for individually contacting the utility organizations. It’s the first most essential best practice for underground service locating.
2. Safe digging practice
Safe digging practices should be carried out for excavation work. Planning and mark outs, cable locators and safe digging complement each other. It won’t be enough to just use one. For example, a cable may appear as a straight line but in practice, it can twist and turn or it can even move out of position. Relying on the plan alone can give a false position. But you can correct that by using a cable locator.
3. Special arrangements for emergency work
Often, the excavation work is urgent. For instance, depending on the urgency, it could be impractical to wait for dial before you dig. In that case you must be prepared to use alternative methods by employing experienced operators who are pro in locating assets and know the requirements of the asset owner. These individuals are mostly the employees of an asset owner who have the right amount of experience and exposure to work on the infrastructure.
4. A duty of care for preventing damages
As a contractor, it’s your duty to prevent damages and reduce the risk of injury. When digging around or near an asset, follow these requirements:
• Use non-destructive excavation or dig by hand when and where required.
• Usually, the gas pipeline asset owners don’t allow hydro-excavation over gas pipelines unless it is approved.
• Dig safely to protect the workers as well as general public all the time. Carry out risk analysis and implement safe work method statements where the level of risk is higher.
• Keep the work near underground asset isolated from the general public.
• You must protect and support the exposed infrastructure at all cost. It’s best to erect safety barriers around the areas to protect the underground networks.
5. Safely locate the underground asset
The locator, owner, and operator are responsible for establishing when and how the underground asset would be identified. The excavators, on the other hand, must protect their workers and the general public from serious injurious caused by the rupture of the asset. Each state and territory must adhere to its code of practice and regulations for performing the underground service.
Employers have the obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace for contractors and workers. This includes making sure the workers have adequate training, information, instructions, and supervision to work in a safe manner. Other than this, employers also have the responsibility to ensure the general public is not endangered by the services being carried out.