AEM saw manufacturers group issues buried hazard guidelines

Concrete cutting, sawing and drilling equipment is used on new construction, renovation and demolition worksite nearly every day, and one potential danger involves the presence of buried hazards including electrical, gas, water, structural and fiber optic cable lines.

To help foster safety on the jobsite, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers has developed a Best Practice Guidelines for Addressing Buried Hazards. The document was prepared by the association’s Masonry and Concrete Saw Manufacturers Institute, which numbers more than a dozen companies including most North American manufacturers of concrete and masonry cutting equipment.

While modern construction equipment is designed and built with state-of-the-art safety features, accidents can occur, so the SMI guidelines stress the importance of proper operator training, planning and foresight.

The SMI guidelines urge operators of concrete-cutting, sawing and drilling equipment to: be well prepared, use your best observation skills and common sense, take all available and appropriate steps to verify buried utility locations, ensure all identified utilities have been completely shut down, use appropriate personal protective equipment, and continue to exercise vigilance throughout the cutting process.

“While it may not be possible to follow all of these guidelines all of the time, a little common sense can go a long way and they should be kept in mind,” says past SMI Chairman Ron Karbowski, current manager of World Product Safety at Saint Gobain Abrasives. “Good observation skills and judgment are essential. If you understand the guidelines and mentally refer to them on the jobsite, the odds of getting hurt or causing damage should be greatly minimized.”