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safety practices

LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBU​D) ​Safety Practices

At LSBUD, the safety of the public and those working near utility cables, pipes and other essential equipment is of the highest priority.

Utility responses are provided by the member. The majority of LSBUD members of the red list on your enquiry confirmation will respond within 20 minutes.

Please note some asset owners may take longer to respond due to account approvals/authorisation.


Below is an overview of the steps that you must follow in order to protect cables and pipes from damage and yourself and others from harm.

Before Starting

It begins with submitting a FREE LSBUD enquiry with as much prior notice as possible before starting your excavation or site project. Having the correct information and knowledge will assist greatly in avoiding damages to affected utility assets.

Utility responses DO NOT come from LSBUD but are sent directly to the enquirer from the utility asset owner. Member utilities of LSBUD on the Red list on your enquiry confirmation will generally respond by email within twenty minutes.

Safety Practices

LSBUD Enquiry Examples

Example: Registered asset owners to respond

LSBUD Members who have assets registered on the LSBUD service within the vacinity of your search area.

List of affected LSBUD Members

Those that are not members of LSBUD will be detailed on the ‘BLUE list’ on your enquiry confirmation and it is your responsibility to contact them directly to ensure they have responded with details of any assets they may have in the area.

Example: Unregistered asset owners – Enquire directly

The following Non-LSBUD Members may have assets in your search area. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to contact them before proceeding. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive and it is your responsibility to identify and contact all asset owners in your search area.

Non-LSBUD Members

Once all plans have been received from affected asset owners as indicated by the cover sheet, study the plans and information thoroughly to ensure there is an understanding of what is required.

You should engage a qualified utility locator/surveyor to scan the ground and detect the location of buried cables and pipes. These should be marked up on the ground with spray paint and a post survey report provided to help you understand the location of utility assets within the vicinity of your project site.

IMPORTANT: In general cables and pipes situated on private property do not have their positions recorded on asset owner plans. It is therefore necessary to check with the landowner and employ a qualified utility locator to scan the ground before any excavations involving private property are undertaken.

Following on from the utility survey check the design plans for the works you intend to undertake to ensure there are no conflicts with existing cables and pipes that may cause a danger during your excavation works. Check if you can design your works so that you do not dig within 2 metres of any existing infrastructure.

Safety plans should be developed for the project site that include procedures employees should follow in the event of an emergency and the relevant emergency response organisations for the damaged cable or pipes.

At the Project Site

Use the plans, post survey reports and ground paint mark ups indicating cable or pipe positioning laid by locating/ground scans and also make a visual inspection to gather any additional indicators that there may be any cables or pipes within your area of works that may impact the safety of anybody digging.

Where a cable or pipe is indicated to be within 2 metres of your worksite you should also hand dig or use non-destructive methods such as vacuum excavation to dig trial holes physically identify the location of any cables and pipes so that you can confirm if there will be any risk of damage.

Only once you have identified that your work site is clear of cables and pipes should you commence with any mechanical excavation. If cables or pipes remain within 2 metre of your area of excavation you should continue with hand digging or non-destructive methods such as vacuum excavation.


NOTE: Some utility assets such as hazardous pipelines or extra high voltage cables may have additional legal and asset owner restrictions for work, and you should always consult with these asset owners prior to any works including trial holes.  

At the Project Site

Employees and subcontractors working onsite must be trained and briefed on all safety measures in order to avoid unnecessary risks and place safety as a priority.

If the scope of your work changes or the validity date(s) of plan(s) expire, a new LSBUD enquiry must be submitted.

When Locating Assets

Please note that plans provided by the utility asset owner only indicate the presence of utility assets within the vicinity of the project site and DO NOT pinpoint the exact location. Ensure that those undertaking utility surveys and mark up are qualified and where possible provide surveys in accordance with British Standards Institute PAS128


Not all utility asset owners are Members of LSBUD and assumptions SHOULD NOT be made that the plans received represent the only utility assets affected by the project work site.

Remember the rule of ‘PIPE’ of Safe Excavation around utility assets.


Plan ahead by lodging your LSBUD enquiry with as much notice as possible before starting any excavations to ensure you have the correct information and safety measures in place. Review the supplied utility plans and visit the work site for a pre works assessment to identify any visual clues for assets affected that may not be on plans.



Investigate by engaging a qualified utility survey & report which includes undertaking electronic location and ground marking up prior to excavation. To establish the exact location of all underground utilities, dig trial holes if permitted using the asset owner’s stated method as specified on the asset owner’s plan and / or information pack – typically, a slit trench, hand dug using a non-conductive shovel or vacuum excavation.



Prepare your site for excavations and protect any cables or pipes exposed by investigations by using physical methods like split ducting or wood planks. Ensure that all working on site are aware of assets by erecting barriers and / or marking the location of the exposed infrastructure.


Excavate only when all the above steps have been completed in accordance with asset owner requirements. Use a permit to dig system to confirm steps have been completed and use a dogman/spotter to proceed with mechanical excavation work to ensure safety.

When You Have Finished

Once the project is complete, ensure no utility asset(s) have been damaged and that any exposed underground asset(s) uncovered by any excavation has been filled back in.

If damage has occurred to any utility asset, notify the affected asset owner immediately by using the contact details on the LSBUD enquiry confirmation page. If the situation is life threatening, please contact the Emergency Services first on 999.