Latest Utilities Guidance

New guidance has been published to help reduce the number of utility strikes.  The Utilities Strike Avoidance Group aims to bring together stakeholders from the energy companies, contractors and government agencies (notably the HSE), to develop widely accepted standards for excavations and thereby reduce the number of strikes.

The Group has produced a "Safety Chartetr" which covers the basic requirements for ensuring safe excavations.  The Charter is primarily aimed at small to medium-sized businesses and contractors, as opposed to the larger companies that already have effective safety management systems in place.

The Charter identifies eight requirements and provides optional supporting guidance to assist companies to comply with the requirements.  This supporting guidance is largely taken from existing material that is seen to be good/best practice. A great deal of the material is based on HSG47: "Avodiing danger from underground services" and is very comprehensive, including a number of risk assessments, forms, HSE-approved guidance documents and the Charter itself; pretty much everything small to medium-sized contractors need to safely work on underground services.  This information is available free and can be downloaded from:

Note: it is likely that some businesses will make signing up to this Charter a contractual obligation. In such a case, those who are not committed to it, may not even be able to tender for work in the future...

Out thanks to Paul Fenwick from AECOM for alerting us to this.