Safety Library

Avoiding danger from underground services

This guidance is aimed at all those involved in commissioning, planning, managing and carrying out work on or near underground services. It will also be of use to the owners and operators of such services.

It outlines the potential dangers of working near underground services and gives advice on how to reduce any direct risks to people's health and safety, as well as the indirect risks arising through damage to services.

It explains the three basic elements of a safe system of work during excavation:

  • Planning the work
  • Locating and identifying buried services
  • Safe excavation

This third edition brings the guidance up to date, but the basic requirements remain the same.

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