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buried utilities safety

Toolbox talk on buried utilities.

Buried utilities include electrical lines, sewage lines, and pipelines buried below the ground level. 

However, buried utilities offer deadly hazards when there is an excavation around the areas. And these can lead to dangerous results unknowingly. 

For instance, A buried gas pipeline can damage by excavation activity. And when this happens, gas leaks can occur. Gas leaks are liable to cause explosions and fire.

OSHA Standard 1926.651(b)(2) says that utility companies or owners shall be contacted within established or customary local response times, advised of the proposed work, and asked to determine the location of the utility underground installations before the start of actual excavation.

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Buried utilities: What can you do to promote Buried utility safety today?

  • Ensure to get approval from the local authority before any excavation commences for a building or construction.
  • Engage the trenchless installation method. Think of using horizontal directional drilling in some of your excavations. Avoid conventional excavation approach for installation of underground utilities. 
  • Look for signs or flags or paints marking electrical lines’ location. You should know how it is Marked and identify them before any excavation.
  • Make sure you review all marked areas to know the exact location of these utilities. If not sure, call the local authorities to help out.
  •  You can dig by hand within 2 metres of the marked out areas. And this will prevent damage to the buried utilities. Enjoy the service of an expert to handle mistakes that may arise. 
  • Look for some signs when you’re digging. Be very observant. Report any Signs of concrete, plastic or gravel.
  • Note that red paints or flags portray marked electrical lines. Yellow Paints or flags are for gas lines.
  • Watch out for changes in soil types that could lead to buried utilities. 
  • If you hit any underground lines, report it immediately. 

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