Last edited 13 May 2016

Safe working in drains and sewers

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Laying and maintaining drains are hazardous operations. Approved Document H - Drainage and Waste Disposal, (2002 edition incorporating 2010 amendments) suggests that:

Appropriate safety codes should be followed including procedures for working in confined spaces. Safe working procedures and permits to work may be required in some situations. Relevant statutory requirements can be found in the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996, SI 1996/1592, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, SI 1994/3140 and the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997, SI 1997/1713.

The Health and Safety Executive operates an Information Line on 08701 545500, and produces the following advisory codes and information leaflets related to earthworks, drainage and working in confined spaces which are available from HSE Books, Tel 01787 881165.

  • Health and Safety in Excavation – be safe and shore, Booklet HSG 185.
  • Safe Work in Confined Spaces – Approved Code of Practice, Regulations and Guidance, Booklet L101.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 contain some requirements which affect building design. The main requirements are now covered by the Building Regulations, but for further information see Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice L24. Published by HSE Books 1992 ([Special:BookSources/0717604136 ISBN 0 7176 0413 6]).

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 apply to the common parts of flats and similar buildings if people such as cleaners and caretakers are employed to work in these common parts. Where the requirements of the Building Regulations that are covered by this Part do not apply to dwellings, the provisions may still be required in the situations described above in order to satisfy the Workplace Regulations.

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