This book updates the guidance contained in the previous edition of HSG47 Avoiding danger from underground services. It outlines the dangers which can arise from work near underground services and gives advice on how to reduce the risk. It deals only with risks to the health and safety of people and is not concerned with damage which has no direct risks associated with it. However, precautions taken which reduce risks to the health and safety of people will generally also reduce the risk of damage to services. Remember, too, that damage can have a knock-on effect: consider for example the effect of the loss of a telephone service if a 999 call has to be made.
Where this guidance applies
This guidance applies to situations where underground services may be found and where work involves penetrating the ground at or below surface level. Buried services are widespread and it should be assumed they are present unless it has been shown otherwise.
For road resurfacing where ground penetration is contained within the wearing and base courses, the services encountered are likely to be limited to traffic sensor cables. Care will still need to be taken, in particular to avoid damage to surface boxes for valves, pressure points, test points etc. All other work will be covered by this guidance including work in footways and kerbing, regardless of depth, as underground services may be found near the surface.
Who this guidance is aimed at
This guidance is aimed primarily at clients, designers, planning supervisors, contractors, employers, owners and operators of underground services, managers and supervisors and others concerned with planning, organising and supervising work near such services.This includes work by or for the utilities and also roadworks, construction and demolition work. However, it is relevant to anyone who has responsibilities under relevant legislation (see Appendix I) and contains a suggested text for use by employees who work near underground services (see Appendix 2).
How to use this guidance
Guidance on the general precautions to be taken to prevent damage to all types of underground services is contained in the section ‘Safe systems of work’. Additional guidance for each type of buried service is given in the section ‘Precautions for particular services’, which should be read in conjunction with ‘Safe systems of work’.