Stop Before You Dig

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The civic layout of India based on the growing need for housing and roads has changed beyond recognition.  As a result As-built maps of underground utility assets, if existing , have been rendered redundant and cannot be used for reference for presence of buried utility assets.

Jcb Excavators or manual labour at work in the country are digging in the blind at most times, at the peril of significant safety concerns of digging directly into live high voltage cables. Such cuts of buried cables can lead to , in order of priority , fatality to the person excavating and serious losses to the company who has taken the work contract. Not to mention the relative inconvenience to the citizens.

The underground space is a jungle of energised power cables, dead power cables, water pipes, jelly filled telephone cables and optical fiber cables. The detection of these assets is an absolute must before undertaking any excavation activity.

Detection of buried utility services requires utilisation of specialised proven pipe and cable locator equipments also referred by some as cable route tracers and others as cable avoidance tools. While the use of these equipments is mandatory in most developed countries, the equipments find acceptance by only more professional companies in India whereas the general contractors who take on jobs carry on work without consideration. Many safety oriented organisations in India propagate utilisation of buried cable pipe detectors as standard safety equipments.  Many  major users in india are also pushing financial damage in case of a utility cut as a measure  to cause the contractors to ensure use of methods which allow prevention of cuts of cables and pipes.

Internationally, as is the case in the united kingdom, utilisation of cable avoidance tools from pipe cable locator manufacturers such as cscope uk is a standard HSE requirement. Premier respected organisations such as British rail, British telecom require utilisation of the cscope cable avoidance as standard safety equipments which have to be utilised prior any excavation activity is undertaken. These cable avoidance tools are the latest generation equipments which are portable and light weight allowing hours of use of the equipment by ground operatives in charge of safety.

The latest generation of pipe cable detectors are highly capable equipments which allow the operator to detect and mark or even gps log location of buried assets with confidence. And even allow differentiation of the utility type detected at a basic level, such as power cable or any other metallic utility.

Cable and pipe detection is both a science and an art. Science as the equipments use the principle of electromagnetic frequency detection to detect radiated or reradiated frequency fields . And art as major pipe cable locator suppliers such as stanlay ( or experienced users possess a significant amount of knowledge to detect cables in extremely complex locations or understand frequency or equipment behaviour in difficult detection scenarios to ensure the most efficient detection of buried cables and assets. and take the capability from just detection to complete mapping, if necessary or required.

suppliers such as stanlay ensure that the operators are given a hands on stepwise training covering basics to advanced training, to ensure efficient utilisation of equipment to ensure that the cable pipe locators assist to do the intended job of preventing cable cuts.

Next time – Stop before you dig. Ensure you use the right avoidance tools to confidently excavate for new utility installations without cutting existing buried cable or pipes.



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