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How to start safe OSP civil work

How to start safe OSP civil work : In this article I will try to cover the how to start the safe OSP carefully or what precautions should be taken to start the OSP work. Some site engineers often make some mistakes in starting the OSP job, which should not be. The provision and maintenance of underground network necessarily involves excavation works.The purpose of this document is to state the policy with regard to safe digging practices during OSP civil work.

Planning play a very important role for the safe work, which I will describe in further detail. Even after a good planning, there are many problems stands in the OSP civil work when we try to start the excavation work. Now we try to know further how to start OSP civil work properly, to avoid all the troubles.

Safe civil work guide line and safety details
Safe OSP Civil work

Planning The OSP Civil Work

Many dangers may be avoided by careful planning before the work starts. Risk assessments should consider how the work is to be carried out; ensuring local circumstances are taken into account.

wherever possible, plans or other suitable information about all buried services in the area should be obtained before excavation work starts. Such plans should be obtained from all Utility Company owners of buried plant, including: Water, Gas, Oil and Electricity Distribution and Supply Companies, Cable Television and telecommunication operators, and Street Lighting Authorities.

It is recommended that a local records office is set up to obtain, keep and maintain records of the above information. It should also liaise with the local team memebers where one exists.

Where excavation work is to take place on a privately owned or development site, the owner or site manager must be requested to provide plans of buried plant. Information provided should contain location, depth, size and type of apparatus.

In addition to obtaining advance information, company that has utilities in that route should also have a contact number, it is necessary during the work to obtain assistance/advice. Any reasonable requirements of the apparatus owner should be met and account taken of advice given.

Use Locators for safe OSP civil work

A safe method of working should not rely solely on plans - for a number of reasons plans may not be sufficiently accurate. Suitable cable and pipe locating devices should be used in conjunction with any available plans, but it is vital that locators are always used whether or not plans are available. In addition, frequent and repeated use of locators should be made during the course of work.

Here you can also READ : Method of detection of buried cable

Before starting the OSP civil work

Make sure that you have plans of the underground services in the area remembering that they must only be used as a guide. Service connections of cables and pipes may not be shown, street lighting cables may not be shown and reference points such as lampposts may have changed.

Always use a suitable locator to trace cables and pipes. Make sure you have been fully trained in their use. If you have any doubts or difficulties consult your line manager.

Where possible mark the positions of cables and pipes on the surface using road-marking chalk.Check for signs of service connections e.g. Gas meters, water valves, street lighting columns or similar indications. Hand dig trial holes wherever possible to confirm the position of services.

Carrying out the OSP civil work

Hand dig when near to buried services using spades and shovels where possible. These are safer to use than picks, forks or digging bars.Check that any electricity cable which is embedded in concrete has been made safe or dead before works start or that a safe method of working has been agreed with the electricity authority responsible for the cable. Keep a continued watch for services as the work progresses, and continue to check with the cable and pipe locator.

Do not use power tools within 0.5m of the marked position of an electricity cable, unless the number of services present precludes this or surface obstructions reduce the available space

Do not use power tools directly over cables unless you have already found the cable by hand digging below the surface and there is at least 300mm clearance between the bottom of the surface and the cable or, some physical means to prevent the tool striking the cable have been used.

Do not use mechanical excavators within 0.5m of a gas pipe and if using an excavator near an electricity cable make sure there is no one near the bucket whilst it is digging.

Never use an exposed service as a handhold or as a step into and out of the excavation. Do not attempt to move, handle or otherwise alter the position of any exposed service. If it needs to be moved inform your line manager who will arrange to have it moved by the owner.

Remember the separation distances between services and ensure you abide by them. Never build existing services into manholes or jointing chambers and never encase any services in walls, floors, roof or concrete.

Safe OSP civil work Policy

OSP civil work should be carried out carefully and follow recognised safe excavation practices. Once a locators used and locating device has been used to determine position and route, OSP civil work may proceed with trial holes dug using suitable hand tools required to confirm the status of any burial services. Special care should be taken while digging above or near the approximate line of such service.

Along with service, every effort should be made to excavate instead of directly above. The ultimate performance of service by horizontal excavation is recommended as the force applied to the hand tool can be controlled more effectively. Spades and shovels (preferably with curved edges) should be used instead of other tools. They should not be thrown into the ground nor eased under foot pressure.

All managers, who have under their control or supervision staff or contractors’ staff who may be required to dig, must have available and must have read a copy of OSP civil work policy.

Managers, who have under their supervision Staff who may be required to dig, must ensure staff have access to civil work policy document and that local arrangements for obtaining information on buried apparatus are made known.


All works (major projects and minor works) which contain planned excavation work. All available plans covering the planned work area should be obtained and issued to field staff and contractors at the appropriate time.

Cable/pipe locators must be used on site in conjunction with plans to confirm positions of buried apparatus.

WHERE REASONABLY PRACTICABLE, WORK SHOULD BE SUSPENDED TO ALLOW PLANS TO BE OBTAINED. Where this is not so, reasonable effort should be made by works or maintenance staff on site, as appropriate, to obtain information on disposition of buried services, particularly electricity cables and gas pipes, prior to any excavation commencing.

This information should be made available by the local records office and may be transmitted to site by telephone. Cable/pipe locators must be used on site in conjunction with any information obtained to identify/confirm positions of buried apparatus.

In circumstances where it has not been possible to obtain plans or information on the position of buried services, excavation work should proceed with particular caution using hand digging methods only (no mechanical or power equipment), continually checking the OSP work area with cable/pipe locators during the excavation. Safe-OSP civil work practices must be employed in all cases.

Training requirements for safe OSP civil work

All staff who are required for OSP civil work must be trained: 
➤in the understanding and use of buried plant plans and their limitations.
➤in the use of cable/pipe locators.
➤in safe digging practice.
➤in the identification of buried utility plant.

Last Word

In addition, it is recommended that staff be given a training course on basic first aid. It is necessary that the staff should be fully informed about the OSP civil work before starting any OSP civil work. All telecom companies have different parameters of OSP civil work, so an experienced person can also make a mistake in a new project in a new company.

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