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Question 7: Is your installer: Providing you with safe working systems?

The 7th set of data cabling questions of the series:

Do you know the method of network installation at your premises and do you know it has been planned safely?

Do you know which areas are at risk during cable installation and what areas to have your employees avoid?

These concerns and plans should be covered under a risk assessment and method statement.

What is a data cabling risk assessment?

The data cabling risk assessment is carried out during a survey of the works to be completed. Certain risks are identified and audited onto a risk assessment sheet that highlights the individual risks.

The risk analyses the severity of the risk and the likelihood of the risk with an overall risk rating

Explanations to that risk are then documented and explained and how the risk will be eliminated or reduced during to data cabling installation process.

A second risk assessment is then documented with the new severity and likelihood. The overall risk should now be a safe enough number to proceed

Risk areas can include among others

  • Working at height
  • Electrical shock
  • Crushing, or falling objects
  • Exposure of works to employees
  • Asbestos

Both the likelihood and severity can be reduced by implementing safety measures. For example the likelihood and severity of falling off a podium step instead of using a ladder reduces both elements

What is a structured cabling method statement?

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The method statement outlines in words, photos or drawings the methods hat will, be undertaken and the areas that will be affected during the data wiring installation

The description should advise where the cabling will originate, the areas it will travel through the end points of each of the cables

In addition in should state the method of installation, working hours, disruption, noise and access equipment if any to be used.

The method statement can be accompanied by photos to show these areas and show which areas will be affected during the installation

Drawing can furthermore assist in explain the installation

Further guidance can be found at  the HSE website here

What should you do with the data cabling risk assessments and method statements?

Both documents should be studied and make sure the proposed installation is suitable and safe for your location and your employees.

Is the installation method proposed suitable to be undertaken as the installer wishes? Will it be safe and are you happy that all risks have been identified and a solution been proposed that is suitable and acceptable?

There are always occasions where the installer is unaware of a certain risk or the method doesn’t fit in with your expectations and now is the best time to communicate this and add it to the data cabling installation plan before works proceed

Elements that can impact a structured cabling installation if unknown

    • Noise restrictions. Will work be stopped or delayed if noise is made during certain times
    • Employees in the building. Can works proceed if certain areas have people working in them
  • Asbestos. Have any areas of concern been communicated to the installer
  • Access restrictions. Are certain areas out of bounds to the installer? These areas might be a roof, stairwell, public space, shared space with other businesses
  • Are lifts allowed to be used or restricted only to stairwells for material deliveries
Key Questions regarding health and safety and assessments for data cabling
  • Will a specific safety plan be produced for your network cable project and not a generic one?
  • Check that the document will give you a plan of what is going to happen and when so your employees are safe from harm and know what to expect
  • Will the document let you know what areas will be affected?
  • Have all areas of risk been identified and mitigated
  • Is the plan suitable for you as the client rather than for the installer