HSG47 is a guidance from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) on how the dangers from striking underground utility services can be avoided when carrying out any kind of digging or excavation work. This publication outlines all the dangers of working near buried utility services. This guidance is the third and the latest edition, which was issued in 2014.
As per the HSE, this guidance applies anywhere where utility services are buried and can be found like, road works, street works, digging, excavation, piling, site remediation and demolition. It also applies to any such work that involves the penetration of the ground.
The guidance is aimed at all those individuals who are involved in the planning, commissioning, managing and also carrying out work near or on buried utility services. It is of great use to the operators and owners of such services. HSG47 clearly outlines the dangers and provides advice on how direct and indirect risks can be reduced.
You must be aware that damage to buried services might lead to severe or even fatal injury. The primary dangers that this guidance includes are:
● Gas pipes (explosion, fire risk and leakage)
● Electricity cables (explosion, fire risk, unrepaired live wires and electrocution)
● Water or sewage pipes (flooding, pollution of water and mixing with gas pipes)
● Telecommunications (expensive repairs and disruption of services)
In the guidance, there are three main chapters. The chapters are briefly explained below.
● Planning the work: Operatives or individuals are expected to identify the site area and find out where the underground services are located before any kind of digging or excavation work begins. This ensures that the project will be planned and there will be no disruptions. This is usually done by carrying out a utility search using cable avoidance tools. The findings about the site are compiled in a report and assessed. This helps in the identification of areas that are of concern and marked so that they can be avoided.
● Locating and identifying underground utility services: Complete on-site survey of a site area is important for identifying and locating the assets that are buried under the ground. The survey is expected to be conducted as per the guidance laid down by the HSE. The surveyor makes use of cable avoidance tools like, CAT & Genny.
● Safe digging or excavation: HSG47 refers to safe digging and excavation practices. This refers to determining the method for digging near underground utility services before the project starts. This takes into account the limitations and the status of the underground utility services, as well as, the ground conditions.
The following of the HSG47 guidance is more important than before because there are already over 60,000 cable strikes reported in the UK. This is an annual affair and it leads to grave injuries, temporary disablement of utility services and loss of reputation. Cable strikes also result in delays in projects and the company has to bear all the extra expenses, along with the burden of having to pay compensation to the public who have suffered due to the temporary interruption of utility services.
The problem is that even though cable strikes are completely unavoidable, the number of strikes only seems to be increasing because most contractors and surveyors are not aware of the correct use and limitations of cable avoidance tools. If you have an upcoming construction or excavation project, make sure to undertake HSG47 training course from a professional training provider. Equipped with the proper training and knowledge, you will be able to prevent an average of 230 cable strikes every single day of the year.
So, find a professional training provider in the UK and sign up for HSG47 training programme. This will equip you with the expertise and knowledge that you need to create a safe working environment for your workers in the site area. Also, you will complete your project on-time.