How to Avoid Utility Strikes 2021
Utility Strikes can cause serious consequences.
Follow these 5 key steps to avoid costly & life-threatening strikes.
Utility Strikes occur when underground utilities are hit during excavation works. Avoiding these strikes is crucial. Hitting or damaging utilities such as gas, electricity or other networks results in costly repairs and major service disruptions. They may also expose workers to serious injury and sometimes even death.
However, with the right planning, there are ways that you can prevent Utility Strikes from happening and ensure safety for your team and local residents.
What Are Utility Strikes?
Utility Strikes are any damages that occur during excavation to either gas pipelines, electricity cables, telecommunications networks, storm water drains, sewerage systems and other services.
Why Do They Occur?
There are several reasons why these occur, but the good news is, most times they can be avoided. Read more and discover the ways that you can reduce Utility Strikes during excavation.
The 5 Key Steps
1. Precise planning & preparation
These steps are paramount in avoiding utility strikes.
Planning involves using the most accurate underground utility locating and mapping of the excavation site. In addition, a detailed desktop survey must also be conducted. This is used to collect and verify existing records provided by the utility owners or operators.
However, because these records could be outdated, it’s best practice not to rely upon them as your only source. There is also the real possibility that further utilities may have been buried since the records were released. It is therefore recommended to scan the site immediately before commencing any excavation in order to prevent any strikes.
2. Site verification
Following collation of the records, a complete site investigation should be undertaken to verify and check for any inconsistences in the readings. This step is crucial to ensure your records are accurate before excavation work begins.
3. Conduct a Geophysical Survey
Through accurate detection and identification, this survey will further verify the exact location of the underground utilities. This is conducted by an advanced cable locator technique called an Electro-Magnetic Locator, or (EML). This is one of the most common utility locating techniques used in the industry. Magnetic fields are used to trace the exact location of the underground utilities. This is commonly referred to as “passive locating”.
In addition to this, another process is utilised to locate most of the buried utilities. This process is known as “active location”. It involves the use of a transmitter attached to the utility line, which produces an EM field on the outer field, which in turn can be located using a cable locator. This process minimises the chances of any strike by 45%.
4. Further verification of buried utilities
As with most excavation undertakings, there is the risk that buried utilities could pass along or through the working site. In this case, trial holes can be dug to carefully expose and identify their locations. Cable locators are used in conjunction with GPR systems to record and log the underground utility location. These can help reduce the chance of any utility damage.
5. Maintaining current training for your operators
Giving your excavation team the correct training for their job is essential in reducing high risk situations and in preventing utility strikes. It’s vital that the training programs offered teach operators the correct and safe methods in locating underground utilities.
In summary, there are several ways that Utility Strikes can be prevented. At Electroscan, we offer a total solution approach for our clients. As leaders in underground utility detection, and certified DBYD locators, we use a range of innovative technologies to precisely locate subsurface assets. This then equips our clients with the information they need to prevent utility strikes.
Electroscan offers utility detection, location, and mapping services across Queensland to support all your subsurface utility engineering needs. Electroscan’s highly skilled team of detection and location specialists work have experience working across projects of varying complexities. Our team always work collaboratively amongst to ensure our combined years of experience bring you the best outcome for your project.