Think Tank Targets Training Issues in Utility Avoidance

Posted: Monday 6th June 2011

A think tank aimed at radically reducing underground utility strikes by tackling issues caused by a lack of information-sharing across industry sectors has been launched.

The ‘Utility Avoidance Forum’ has been set up by a number of industry leaders in a bid to enhance safety standards, skills and professionalism. Its primary aim is to improve and increase awareness of new and best practice.

The forum comprises representatives from leading insurance companies, loss adjustors, major contractors and industry bodies including TSA, ICES and SURCO. Its inaugural meeting worked to identify and discuss the key issues which affect the sector’s organisations and it will now be meeting quarterly.

Pete Bevils, chair of the Utility Avoidance Forum and Managing Director of LTU, said he hopes the launch of the forum will help improve standards while creating an industry benchmark for training accreditations.

He said: “A key priority for the forum is to help raise awareness surrounding the importance of developing an accredited training programme for field operatives. Through appropriate industry accreditations we can begin to tackle issues surrounding incompetent workers – many of our partner organisations have recognised this as a growing problem.

“Workers without sufficient training can hugely increase the likelihood of utility strikes, which alongside the obvious health and safety issues can also cause lengthy delays to a project’s timescales and increase its costs.

“Drawing together the expertise and talent across a range of sectors involved with the industry is undoubtedly the best way to improve standards in underground utility avoidance. Each of the organisations involved with the forum have seen first-hand the major issues which are being created as a direct result of the industry’s lack of accreditation.”

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