Minister launches industry charter to improve street works

Transport Minister Norman Baker MP will today launch an industry-led charter to improve the safety of street works.

The Safe Dig Charter has been compiled by the utilities sectors and contractors to ensure the highest standards of safety and best practice when carrying out maintenance work on the vital services for our homes and businesses. In particular it will help those carrying out work avoid disrupting supplies through accidental strikes on utilities in the ground.

Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said:

“I know how frustrating it is when road works cause unnecessary disruption and delays, or worse, when lanes are coned off with no explanation of why no work is taking place. It is not just inconvenient but expensive, costing the economy £4 billion a year.

“The launch of today’s charter is important as it will help to reduce delays to the travelling public, while improving standards within the industry.”

The Charter ensures any work that is carried out is:

  1. Properly planned and that those responsible are aware of their responsibilities and how to carry them out.

  2. People working on our behalf are assessed to ensure they are competent and capable of carrying out the task.

  3. Excavations carried out in accordance with safe systems of work, company or USAG procedures.

  4. The equipment provided is inspected, calibrated and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements and that records are kept.

  5. Correct protective equipment used.

  6. Latest utility asset drawings are available to people excavating and all work is inspected.

  7. Where damage to utility assets occur, a investigation takes place, including shared learning and action is taken to reduce risks.

Energy Networks Association (ENA) has worked across utilities and contractors to help facilitate the development and launch of the charter at the ENA/SBGI Annual Street Works Conference which looks at new technologies, partnerships and best practice to ensure minimal disruption to transport and services.

ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:

“Delivering a safe working environment and protecting existing infrastructure are critical to successful street works. In an Olympic year and with ever increasing pressure on utilities to replace ageing infrastructure in crowded urban environments this is even more important.”

David Burgess, Group Health and Safety Manager of North Midland Construction Plc, one of the contractors involved in developing the Charter, said:

“As an industry we have a responsibility to ensure all those working on the vital services provided to the public are competent, properly trained and have access to the right equipment.

“Health and safety must be paramount to every company working where this level of risk exists. This Charter is the result of significant work by stakeholders across the industry to share best practice and ensure the whole industry commits to reducing risk to individuals and the supplies of homes and communities.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Details of the Safe Dig Charter and the toolkit produced can be found here.

The Safe Dig Charter states that those signing it will:

  1. Ensure that all work carried out by us or on our behalf is properly planned and that those responsible are aware of their responsibilities and how to carry them out.

  2. Ensure that all people working on our behalf are assessed to ensure they are competent and capable of carrying out the task given to them and that at least one person in each work team is competent in the use of cable detection equipment to its full potential.

  3. Ensure that excavations, including those undertaken by anyone excavating on our behalf, are carried out in accordance with safe systems of work, company or USAG procedures.

  4. Ensure that the equipment provided for the detection and avoidance of services is inspected, calibrated and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements and that records are kept, including a daily check to ensure that the equipment continues to operate as expected.

  5. Ensure that all those working, including those on our behalf use the correct protective equipment and are trained in its use.

  6. Ensure that relevant latest utility asset drawings are available to people excavating, that our work is inspected and audited and that failure to achieve the expected standards is recorded.

  7. Ensure that where damage to utility assets occur, a suitable and sufficient investigation takes place, that learning is shared and that action is taken to reduce the risks to those carrying out the work.

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in theUKandIreland.

For further information please contact:

Tim Field MCIPR,
Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758
W: www.energynetworks.org
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