The last few years have been impressive for our joint venture partner LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD), a free to use online safe digging service which provides the location of underground assets and infrastructure across the UK.
LSBUD exists to reduce the risk of death, injury, damage, and disruption caused by asset strikes. The safety of the public and those working near utility cables, pipes and other essential equipment is of the highest priority. Any individual or organisation can use the LSBUD portal to check their work against more than 100 asset owners’ utility networks which include over one million kilometres of underground and overhead pipes and cables.
Evidence proves that there is a search being done every six seconds with more than 3.4 million enquiries each year. These searches prevent strikes every day as the service helps enable thousands of people work safely. One thing for certain is that safe digging practices are continuing to rise across the UK and with a new mapping interface, LSBUD has made searching for underground pipes and cables more accurate than ever before. LSBUD’s goal is clear, they want to encourage all UK asset owners to make their information available through this collaborative service to keep assets and workers and the community safe in the process.
The safe digging community continues to be stronger; there are now more than 100 members registered on the portal which has led to a safer environment for everyone. The majority of digging work has been performed by the telecoms sector who need detailed underground mapping with over 1.2 million searched in 2021. The water industry submitted over 900,000 enquiries, a 11% increase from 2020. Together these two sectors account for 77% of all digging work. The consistent growth in number of search enquiries confirms the digging industry’s willingness to improve, and there was also a 25% increase in searches for home improvement projects in 2021, with 157,428 being carried out.
Richard Broome, Managing Director of LSBUD and a Partner at Fisher German, said: “Communication, information and sound relationships are key to the success of LSBUD. Whether there are vast numbers of people involved as seen in some of the large projects or just one person in a domestic project, effective communication of the safe digging message is paramount. Planning is so important; it prevents poor performance, and it is key that those digging have the up-to-date information before any work is started. People need to remember that by undertaking work with limited or no prior knowledge of what is beneath them, there is a real risk of injury or even fatality.”
LSBUD held a National Damage Prevention Day in June and one of the speakers, John Pickford from Portsmouth Water, said: “Having LSBUD has helped us manage event investigations much more quickly. Our turnaround time for plan responses was at least 24 hours and now it is just ten minutes. We are now confident that we can provide the information at any time, enabling us to change the way we work and improve our customer experience with improved service delivery internally and externally.”