Fencing contractor who hit gas main campaigns for safer digging

A fencing contractor whose post-knocker hit an underground gas pipeline on a farm in Derbyshire has joined forces with LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD) and Linewatch to produce a safety awareness video.

The original CCTV of the gas explosion shows fencer Elliott being thrown from the ground when the pipe exploded. He decided to use his experience to create a safety campaign to worn others in construction, excavation, fencing and ditching of the perils of digging ‘blind’ and explains some best practices people must follow to avoid damage to the environment, serious injury, or death.

Elliott and his team were working on the farm for about a month prior to the accident. The advisors put a fence up in the last field in one straight run but two metres from the hedgerow for a foot bath. We got about half way down and needed to put a strainer in, so we put a rock spike in the ground to part of hole. We knocked it in, the next thing we knew, everything exploded and the ground lifted - we'd gone through the gas main.

“For a few seconds I simply thought that my time was up,” said Elliott. “After I recovered from the initial shock, my only thought was, ‘I don’t want anyone else going through this.’”

The video (below) focuses on Elliott’s experience of striking the pipeline, it recounts the moments after the explosion and looks at what he would do differently if he had the chance to do so. The video explores the unseen dangers lurking beneath the ground, when digging as part of construction, highways, utility, farming or fencing work.

LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD) is a free internet based search enquiry system available 24/7 to make asset enquiries online  it receives more than 3.5 million enquiries a year. The service is designed to be used by anyone that needs to know where utility assets (pipes and cables) are in order to work safely. 

This year's National Safe Digging Day will take place on 22 June 2023  almost exactly a year to the day after Elliott's accident.



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