Utility Installation (Underground Utilities)

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock #480498193. Remember any excavation 4 feet or more in depth needs to have adequate shielding or shoring systems or be sloped or benched to protect employees from cave-ins

Remember any excavation 4 feet or more in depth needs to have adequate shielding or shoring systems or be sloped or benched to protect employees from cave-ins.

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.


Did you know that the most common hazard associated with installing underground utilities is the potential cave-ins associated with the excavation operations?

In the construction industry, workers who install electrical, cable, phone, water, or sewage utilities can be exposed to hazards such as the following:

  • Confined spaces.
  • Contact with overhead high voltage lines.
  • Engulfment.
  • Moving mechanical parts (unguarded tools and equipment).

Expand or collapse. See more hazard exposures.

  • Falling/flying debris or materials.
  • Falls (from any height).
  • Heat illness.
  • Moving vehicles or equipment (excavators, dump trucks, cars).
  • Pests and other vermin.
  • Slips and trips.
  • Sprains and strains.
  • Toxic gases.

These hazards can lead to serious injuries or even death.

Information provided in this topic page can help employers and employees identify and evaluate existing and foreseeable safety and health hazards. It also provides resources to help with training, prevention methods, and the development and implementation of a required written safety and health accident prevention program (APP).

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