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We are pleased to begin a regular newsletter updating all of our members and those that have registered an interest in the newsgroup with the latest developments and news from the group and wider industry. Click on the below image to display the newsletter in a new window.
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Thank you for your commitment to ensure the highest standards of safety and best practice when carrying out essential work to avoid utility strikes. As part of this drive, USAG produces an Annual Report on Utility Strikes to highlight trends in asset damage throughout the UK; a concept based on international best practice. The drivers for this are to help all stakeholders improve by recognising best practice, reduce damages and delays and, most importantly, increase the safety of people working near utilities. Data collection templates and guidance can be found here. All data will be anonymised and a Non-Disclosure Agreement is available upon request.
We thank you in advance for your help; the deadline date for return of 2017 & 2018 information is 07 June 2019. Your efforts to keep to this deadline are appreciated as it will enable the finalised reports for both 2017 and 2018 to be compiled and made available in the coming months for the good of the whole industry. Should you have any questions please email Richard Broome, Head of Data and Reporting Group.
One of our large utility construction and maintenance contractor members Amey has produced a handy video training guide to their locating services process. They are happy to share this guide with the rest of USAG and you can view the video on their youtube channel by clicking below.
National Damage Prevention Day – This year the national damage prevention day hosted by LSBUD is being held at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Thursday 20th June. USAG is proud to support this event and there will be a diverse agenda of speakers from the utilities, contractors, regulatory authorities, service and equipment suppliers all dedicated to reducing damage to utilities, keeping the essential services to homes and business running and most importantly of all keeping workers and the public safe.
LSBUD have kindly offered members of USAG the opportunity to purchase reduced price tickets at a cost of £76.50 + VAT by simply entering the promo code USAGMEMBER don’t worry if you’re not a member, use the code then simply send us an email to join on firstname.lastname@example.org
The USAG team hope to see you on the day where we will be available to discuss damage prevention with you.
The USAG Safe Dig charter has just been updated and is now available for download from the USAG website by clicking here. We ask all our current members from utility asset owners to contractors and surveyors/locators to recommit and re sign to the fundamental rules of safety and damage prevention when carrying out works on or near utility infrastructure. If you are not a current member please take the time read through the charter and sign up to show that you are striving to ensure the highest standards in planning through to excavation and to keep your workers and the public safe.
As part of charter you will also agree to annually supply strike damage data for the purposes of compiling the annual damage analysis and learnings report. USAG is a not for profit industry led initiative of more than 180 asset owners, contractors, service providers, associations and regulators.
Whilst this sad incident was not as a result of excavation damage it is a reminder of the catastrophe that can be caused by the rupture of a fuel pipeline. Recent near misses and damages in the UK and New Zealand prove that this is a key risk to the excavation and farming industry in an industrialized nation with the potential to kill many and inconvenience large sectors of the community and economy.
Remember that high pressure fuel and gas pipes criss cross the nation both in the road and on private and agricultural land. For any works big or small, public or private you MUST check for their presence and ensure that your area of works has been swept and confirmed clear of pipes like this or any other utilities.
If any are present you must liase directly with the pipeline owner before beginning work. We send our condolences that those affected by this terrible incident and hope that by highlighting these we can spread the word of planning your work and conducting it safely so that we can minimize or even eliminate the tragic consequences that can occur from excavation damage.
The latest biennial strike damage report has now been published. This report summarises the key findings of over 2700 utility strikes across the UK during 2015 & 16 from 32 participants. It highlights what caused the most damages and provides scope and recommendations to:
Avoid future damages
Improve the ability to analyse the strike data in future years.
It builds on the previous reports prepared in 2013 & 14 and provides a comparison against the previous year’s (2014) data. Many issues were replicated across the periods which strengthens the conclusions made.
Please take the time to download and read the report and share the key finding across your organisation in order to reduce the risk of strikes this year. The next request for strike data submissions from 2017 and 2018 will be made soon. Please ensure your organisation endeavours to submit this data as it is key to understanding the primary areas of focus for risk reduction. Requests for data submission forms can be made to email@example.com.
The USAG group was recently featured in an article in the Water and Wastewater treatment magazine. This piece focuses on the risks and scale of the problem and the initiatives that have taken place such as linesearchbeforeUdig, training and advances in technology to better inform and improve the working practices of those excavating near utilities.
The full story can be found on the Water and Wastewater Treatement website by clicking the following link:
IOSH fully supports this proactive industry-led initiative and wholeheartedly agrees that risk assessment, planning, safe systems of work and competence are all essential for ensuring that digging and excavating are safe.
We need to make sure that all workers involved in excavations avoid accidentally striking the myriad of underground services, including electricity cables and gas pipes. Health and safety professionals are committed to helping employers and workers by raising awareness and promoting good working practices.
The latest HSE guidance ‘Avoiding danger from underground services’ highlights the devastating consequences of failing to manage such work properly, with workers being killed or seriously injured from striking live underground cables. These tragedies are preventable and IOSH believes we must act to ensure every worker goes home safely at the end of the working day.
The Institution would urge all organisations involved in commissioning or conducting any ground or excavation work to renew their efforts to raise health and safety standards and to sign up to this Charter. We all need to work together to make sure accidental contact with underground services is a tragedy of the past.
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
Phil Cornforth is a Damage Prevention, Health and Safety professional working in the construction and utilities industry. He sits on the USAG Steering Group. The USAG has one goal - to avoid utilities and so prevent injury, damage, disruption and raise the standards of our industry.