Cable strikes form a significant safety challenge for the construction industry utility sector, and such incidents can result in death or injury for the workforce as well as costing companies millions of pounds in associated damages and compensation costs.
Damage to underground services can cause fatal or severe injuries (HSE 2005) as well as the potential for fire and explosions, and these risks are not just to our workforce but also members of the public.
On the SMP M23, we have a simple yet effective way of recognising utilities and ‘signposting’ these for our workforce to identify cables and services on site. We have an initiative to introduce a more conspicuous visual standard which will denote the presence of underground services.
All signs are made from non-conductive material and they form part of the legal requirement to mark the line of an identified service in accordance with HSG47 and Kier standards. They are also colour coded for ease and in accordance with the recognised utility identification. These are currently being used by the service co-ordinators as part of their permit to dig process.
The signs will work in tandem with line marker spray prior to the dig operations. In the past, these have been marked on the ground with spray paint which can be overlooked or deteriorate overtime.
As a result, our operatives will know that there are services present and proceed with greater caution knowing the presence of where and what type of services are present. Using this new initiative, we are aiming to reduce service strikes and implement new ways of working.