The Importance of Reducing Underground Utility Damage

September 2, 2021 2:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Just because you can’t see something, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. This is especially the case with underground utilities. Often buried and unseen with the naked eye, underground utilities must be accounted for when performing underground contracting work.

Doing so can not only make the jobsite safer but prevent fines and citations as well. If you’ve ever wondered, “What precautions can I take to reduce the risk of underground utility damage?” then you’re in luck, because this article will cover how to reduce the risk of underground utility damage.

Read various manuals

Before doing anything, you should take the time to read up on underground contracting safety and its respective best practices. One journal released by the Common Ground Alliance could be quite helpful, The Definitive Guide for Underground Safety and Damage Prevention.

In addition to that, you should read the Associated General Contractors of America’s Elements of an Effective Underground Utility Excavation Safety and Damage Prevention Program. Both are available for free online.

Call 811 and other private utility companies

Prior to performing any work, you’re required by law in most states to locate utilities and have them marked before you begin digging. You can call 811 to have someone come out to your jobsite and mark the locations of utility lines for free.

But this service only covers public utilities, and there’s a good chance that some private utilities have lines running underneath your jobsite too, so it’s imperative that you work with a private utility locator to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Have the proper training

Because of the dangerous nature of the work, it’s of paramount importance that you and all your employees are trained properly and certified. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers free literature, Trenching and Excavation Safety, that you and all your employees should take advantage of.

In addition to that, OSHA also offers free training courses that present certificates upon completion.

Use a combination of both maps and the latest technology

While you’ll be able to procure utility maps and should definitely use them, relying solely on maps can be insufficient. This is especially true when you factor in the advances that have been made in ground-penetrating radar technology. In conjunction with maps, you should use the newest and best technology that you can because it offers the most accuracy and precision.

Just make sure that you and your employees know how to use the tools properly and that they’re calibrated correctly. Having the best tools doesn’t mean much if your employees don’t know how to use them or if they’re receiving electrical interference from other sources.

Go back and review

Many ground penetrating radar devices log everything that they do. They log the time and location of each search, how strong and how sensitive the signal was, and the depth of whatever utility was discovered. Armed with this data, you can go back and review how well you or your employees surveyed the area and make the necessary improvements and adjustments through training if need be.

Call for trenching and excavation today

If you’ve ever asked, “What precautions can I take to reduce the risk of underground utility damage?” then this article hopefully offered some answers. But knowing how to reduce the risk of underground utility damage is only a small part of underground contracting. If you need trenching, excavation or any other underground contracting services, give us a call at Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. We’re the industry experts in underground contracting services.

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