When planning work in near proximity to known utilities, either underground or above ground services (or in the case of unknown utilities), there is a need to take extra safety precautions. There were 68 electrocutions or fatalities in Ireland from the explosive/ burning effects of electricity from 1996 to the end of 2016. Of those, 45 fatalities were associated with a work activity. Electricity aside, gas networks, water pipes, sewers, and telecommunication cables (if damaged), may pose a direct hazard to personnel in the nearby vicinity. Thorough investigations are required to locate potential utilities to enable the identification of potential hazards, devise workplace plans and implement a safe system of work.
Working Safely Near Utilities
Contractors are responsible for managing the risks associated with work near overhead electricity wires and underground cables. Thus competent persons need to review past site records and utility drawings in advance of works and to liaise with the respective utility providers (where applicable). For example, if planning work near overhead electricity wires, contact ESB Networks in advance so that the necessary safety precautions can be evaluated. Avoid construction activity within 10 metres of live overhead electricity lines and any activities that may result in a reduction in the safe line to ground clearance.
For the 2018 campaign, the CIF has partnered with architect Dermot Bannon in recording a video to focus on what services may unknowingly lurk beneath the ground at a construction site, which can be viewed by participating companies/individuals at www.cif.ie/safety-week/videos
Additionally, the CIF has recorded a talk with Sean Mannion of Ward & Burke Construction Services on the top five things to think about when locating underground services. This can be viewed on the CIF website.
To download the Working Safely Near Utilities poster and Construction Safety Week logo, visit www.cif.ie/safety-week/schedule