Construction workers praised following record number of ‘safe digging’ searches

‘RECORD’ numbers of people in the UK are searching for pipes and cables before they put a digger bucket or spade in the ground, according to Digging up Britain 2023.

More than 3.75 million search enquiries were placed in 2022, with construction workers, companies and contractors said to be playing a ‘pivotal’ role.

The annual report by LSBUD revealed that 384,072 more searches were placed in 2022 than the previous year, a 12% increase.

74% of all search enquiries were for ‘Planned Works’, 1% up on last year. The number of searches for ‘Emergency Works’ remained static at 7%. Users placed 252,598 emergency searches.

Richard Broome, MD at LSBUD, said, “More than 3.75 million searches in one year is phenomenal, and really is testament to all of those within the safe digging industries for their continued best practice when it comes to excavation projects and their commitment to protecting themselves and others.

“Personally, I would like to see the number of emergency searches come down. Of course there will some that are inevitable, but in the most part, a proactive, three-minute asset search ahead of the project could eliminate many of these. This must remain the goal within the construction industry in 2023 and beyond.”

The majority of digging work was undertaken on behalf of the telecoms sector, followed by the water industry. These two sectors accounted for 74% of all digging work in 2022.

Richard Broome added, “2022 was the best ever year for the safe digging community. Pipes and cables were better protected than ever before, and those working near them were safer. Of course, there is room for improvement, and that is what we push for, however we wanted to extend a thank you to every construction worker who searches before they dig. It is good practice, it is safe, and it is sensible. Remember, always search before you dig.”