The great unknown – the hidden risks of breaking ground

The great unknown – the hidden risks of breaking ground

Those who work in electrically-charged environments are often aware of the dangers they face.  Rightly so; it’s highly regulated because a wrong move could have devastating consequences.  But what about when that’s not the case?

Industries from telecoms to utilities, sustainable technology to rail maintenance can find themselves in unpredictable territory when breaking ground.  In this more uncontrolled environment, the risk of an arc flash or other electrical incident is a real possibility.

A critical lack of information

Companies involved in breaking ground rely on underground utility maps to show whether there is a risk of disturbing live services.  It’s worrying though, that there is no single, government-owned collection of maps showing the UK’s service network.  Instead, some companies hold some records, creating at best a very high-level picture.  At worst, it’s dangerous; as well as the unknown risks, utility strikes cost the economy around £1.2bn a year.

The HSE has produced a comprehensive guide Avoiding Danger from Underground Services.   This talks about how to identify and manage the dangers, as well as identifying services and safe excavation.   The guidance is clear about the responsibilities if you plan work that may disturb underground services, and suggests that site operators and owners should be prepared to help you locate and identify any services that could be a risk.

The most dangerous risk is an unknown one

One of the biggest problems with the unpredictable task of breaking ground is that if there’s no perceived risk then it’s likely the wrong PPE is being used.   When there’s even a possibility of an arc flash occurring, it’s crucial that specialist kit is worn.

People regularly working in known live electrical environment have an advantage.  They benefit from full and comprehensive assessments to ensure they’re wearing kit that will protect them should an incident occur.  As an employer, the costs are significant if you don’t follow the rules with fines of over £2m not unheard of.

The right arc flash PPE choice is the only choice

Research shows there is a lack of awareness about the products available to protect people from arc flashes and other electrical incidents.  Conversations about thermal energy and calories per square centimetre of fabric may seem complex and overwhelming.  As a result, they can be a trigger for your businesses reverting to tried and tested PPE that suits a more generalist need.

In the event of an arc flash, that decision could be the difference between survival, significant life-changing injuries and even death.  Purpose-designed arc-flash clothing, as designed by ProGARM, undergoes every possible industry test, meets every relevant certification, and matches every necessary standard.  More than that, it is designed with comfort, durability and wearability in mind.

If disaster strikes when breaking ground, ignorance will be no excuse.  To learn more about Arc Flash PPE and the role it should play in your suite of PPE, speak to ProGARM today call 44 (0) 1482 679600 to discuss your requirements or email info@progarmcurrent.wpengine.com.

Make sure that you’re specifying the right PPE for your team.

Read our free guide on the top considerations when choosing Arc Flash clothing & PPE below and make the best choice for you and your team via the link below ⬇.

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