NEWS Data reveals when to be wary of mining accidents

Data reveals when to be wary of mining accidents

Richard Broome is managing director of the online resource LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD)

As the country began to return to some form of normalcy post-COVID, and the government committed significant resources to massive infrastructure to jump-start the UK economy, we experienced a ‘digging boom’. In fact, construction output in 2021 will increase by the most since annual records began in 1997, according to government data. This momentum continues until 2022.

LSBUD allows users to check online their works against more than 90 asset owners’ utility assets, including pipes and cables, and handles more than 3.4 million search queries per year. So, with all this data available, Trends we see in 2022 Beyond?

mining security

Midweek is when the most accidents are recorded. However, the number of incidents classified as “high” in severity increased over time and peaked on Friday. This indicates week-long tiredness or a rush to get work done before the weekend. Site managers can take note and mitigate this by re-emphasizing safe excavation practices to their teams.

Likewise, the greatest number of strikes occurred at noon on weekdays. This suggests that employees may not be concentrating before their lunch break.

“With the gradual increase in time pressure and the reduction in corners, the chance of someone hitting an asset in the ground increases”

July is usually the month when most asset strikes occur due to long hours, good weather and casual workers taking leave. Again, field managers need to be aware of this in order to be proactive.

Things have changed since the pandemic of what form of equipment led to underground strikes. Hand tools are the most common piece of equipment causing damage to underground pipes and cables, new figures show. This marks a change, as excavators and mini excavators were previously the most common cause.

Strikes involving chainsaws and drills were also noted. This suggests that the pipes and cables that were hit were likely close to the surface and that workers were working close to them, raising the possibility that these incidents could become more serious.

The clear advice here is that anyone undertaking mining of any kind should start with a background understanding of going data and a clear sense of what lies beneath the surface. While it might be considered a lower-risk mining activity, the consequences of damaging assets while doing so are far more serious.

Construction companies also face significant financial consequences when assets are hit. Pipes and cables obviously need repairs, but on top of that, there are indirect costs such as disruption to traffic and loss of custom for local businesses.

big picture

In short, the more you dig, the greater the danger. As infrastructure projects increase, the chances of someone bumping into an asset underground increases, especially as time pressure begins to creep in and corners are cut. We cannot let this happen.

A quick and easy asset search before a bucket or excavator bucket breaks ground must always be part of safe excavation practices for all construction companies. Not only is this good health and safety practice, removing unnecessary risks on site and keeping workers safe, but it keeps projects on track.

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