THINK. Every year people are killed or seriously injured in incidents involving buried services.

An injury can have a huge impact on your daily activities – at work, and at home.

Damage to underground services can cause fatal or severe injury as well as significant disruption and environmental damage (HSE, 2014)

Since 2015, an average of 70 people a year are seriously injured as a result of contact with underground electricity cables (HSE statistics).

Each injury has an impact on a person’s work, finances and family. A bad injury can change your life.

Watch Dean talk about his experiences and how it affected his life at work and at home – Dean’s testimonial video


Download one of our toolbox talks on buried services:

TBT118 Stop if anything changes

TBT115 Buried services – Planning

TBT116 Buried services – Digging

TBT117 Stop if anything changes


What does safe digging look like?

  • Continue to scan at regular intervals to capture any services that change with depth
  • Ensure tools are insulated and undamaged, if they are not do not start work
  • Carry out trial holes to locate known services in the area
  • Continue to assess the route of the ducting and utilities for any changes in depth
  • Watch out for changes in previous works like new concrete along your route that may have something below not shown on the drawings/statistics
  • If you damage an underground cable or find a damaged cable, vacate the excavation/area immediately and stop what you are doing, speak with your supervisor who will contact the relevant utility service owners

Injuries happen when the safe system of work is not followed, or the planned task changes.

Safety on site is everyone’s responsibility. We must all look after each other.

Download one of our underground services safety posters




Check out some more useful resources below

UK Power Networks: Excavation safety animation – YouTube

Highways Safety Hub: Think Before You Dig. If Only – YouTube

If you are worried about safety on your site, please report your concerns straight away.

Please stay aware of the risks of underground services. Follow the safe system of work, stop if anything changes, and report anything you think could be done in a safer way. If everyone does this, we can minimise injuries at work.