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Reduce damage to underground utilities

The problem…

Digging ground is a fundamental part of construction and with that comes risks – the risk of damaging buried services and potentially causing serious injury or even death. Unfortunately, every time ground is broken these risks are present.

Consequences are becoming worse

Damage can be both dangerous and expensive: the utility will have to be repaired, productivity will dip and compensation may need to be paid. In the UK, injury at work can result in large fines: a recent update to the Health & Safety Sentencing Guidelines means a fine handed out to an organisation is not just based on the severity of the incident, but also the turnover of the responsible business. This has led to a sharp increase in the level of fines imposed by courts.


Source: IOSH Health & Safety Sentencing Guidelines One Year On, 2017

Reducing the risks

Digging into the ground poses many risks although by following a best practice model these can be dramatically reduced.

  1. Always use the best tools
  2. Implement and follow safe working practices
  3. Monitor and improve on-site behaviours

Use the best avoidance tools

Locating buried utilities before excavating is vital and can be easily achieved with a Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT) and accompanying signal generator (Genny). It is important to use a CAT that has been designed with the user in mind and is feature-rich.  Radiodetection’s C.A.T4 products all feature automatic dual-frequency receivers that find more cables, as well as the ability to work reliably even in areas of high electrical interference.

Implement and follow safe working practices

The UK’s HSG47 2014 guidance contains procedures for planning excavations, locating buried services and safe excavation.  It forms the basis of a set of safe working practices.  To be effective, the CAT modes must be used correctly, and it is of particular importance that the Genny is also used.  Companies’ documented practices should encompass using the CATs correctly as well as the other aspects of HSG47.

CAT training is vital to ensure that operators are competent.  Always chose a training provider who can demonstrate expertise with your chosen CAT product.

Monitor on-site behaviours

Ultimately, risks can only be reduced if the tools are actually used, and used correctly as instructed. Cable Avoidance Tools provided by Radiodetection – a UK manufacturer of damage prevention tools –  support customers in this task by automatically recording what is done. This data-logging functionality records key locator parameters every second and stores the logs in on-board non-volatile memory. The locator stores what mode was being used, what signal was being detected, the sensitivity setting of the locator, the depth of the located service and many more parameters.

These data logs allow verification that the tool have been used correctly.  They can also highlight areas for improvement.

Drive best practice, reduce utility strikes and improve on-site safety

September 2017 sees the launch of Radiodetection’s C.A.T Manager Online – a new cloud-based management system designed to complement their gC.A.T4 range of Cable Avoidance Tools.

gC.A.T.4 GPS Cable Avoidance Tools connect with a free Android or Apple mobile app to transfer usage data to the remote server at the end of each scan. There is no need for operator intervention or complex manual data retrieval, saving time and effort for both field operators and office staff.

The web interface provides a structured analysis and presentation of the data, allowing supervisors to easily assess work quality. Built-in GPS adds location information to all the scans, and surveys can also be visualised using the Google Maps interface.

Web based tools such as Radiodetection’s C.A.T Manager Online offer contractors a convenient way to identify errors in near real-time and enables early interventions to prevent poor practices developing.

To find out more information about C.A.T Manager Online visit: