Safe digging practice governs gas mains, associated plant and equipment which are owned and operated across Northern Ireland by SGN Natural Gas. Part of our responsibility when delivering natural gas to our customers includes, ensuring the safety of our asset network from accidental damage by third parties working near our pipelines. Damage to our network could lead to a fire, an explosion, or loss of supply to the local community.
Prior to any work commencing on a public highway or on private land, the person or company undertaking the work must follow safe digging practice. All excavation work must be in accordance with HSE publication HSG47
– it’s law. The HSE takes the view ‘assume pipes are present unless you have been shown otherwise’. People undertaking work must have utility drawings showing where underground pipes are and use location devices to locate and mark them. Once the position and route have been identified, excavation may go ahead, with trial holes dug (using suitable hand tools or vacuum excavation) as necessary, to confirm the position of any detected assets. Take special care when digging above or close to where you think the pipes are – unsafe digging can kill. As well as causing significant disruption and environmental damage, interfering with underground assets can also delay the project and incur considerable costs. If contractors are involved, it’s your responsibility to ensure any safety advice, guidance and/or copies of gas maps are made available to them.
If you plan to dig, or carry out building work to a property, site or public highway within our gas network, you must contact our Plant Protection team to let them know. Plant location enquiries must be made via post or email, but you can phone us with general plant protection queries.
See our contact details below:
Plant Protection Team
95 Kilbirnie Street
Phone 0800 912 1722
Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm
For further information, please read the SGN Natural Gas Dig safely booklet below: