How to Remove an Underground Cable Cover

As a manager or decision-maker dealing with government or civil engineering projects, you probably know that a Plasslab underground cable cover is the most effective and environmentally friendly solution for protecting large electrical cables. But what happens when you need to remove an underground cable cover? It’s a situation that you may encounter more frequently than you think, and here’s how you can get it right.

Why you may need to remove an underground cable cover

Underground cable covers are used under each electrical authority’s jurisdiction due to their reliability, safety, durability, and sustainability. They deliver an extra layer of protection against accidental penetration from digging equipment while also protecting them against damage to promote greater longevity. As such, all Australian engineers working with cables or completing any type of excavation work in areas where underground cables are present.

While underground cable covers are designed to support longevity, several situations may require them to be removed on a temporary or permanent basis. Some examples include;

  • During maintenance and repairs where you need access to the cables located underneath.
  • When relocating underground cables to another part of the site due to new projects in the area.
  • When removing the underground cables from the site because they are no longer needed.
  • During upgrades where electrical cables are set to be replaced by new and improved cabling.
  • If inferior cable covers have become damaged and need replacing with a superior product.

Whether you need access to cables for temporary matters like repairs or to permanently remove them, a successful removal is the first step to success.

Why you need to remove the underground cable cover properly

Regardless of the situation in which an underground cable cover must be removed, you must complete the job safely and efficiently. Construction workers, miners, and electricians are all listed in the list of Australia’s most dangerous jobs. First and foremost, then, utilising the right removal technique for your covers is a matter of protecting yourself and any contractors working on the project.

Other reasons for removing the underground cable cover correctly include but are not limited to;

  • Prevent unnecessary damage to the underground cables that the covers have been protecting. 
  • Ensure that the covers remain in good condition so that they can be used again when the cables below are fixed.
  • Stop the threat of causing problems for light poles in the area or any other items powered by the electrical cables.
  • Ensure that the project continues to meet all safety and construction regulations during or after the necessary work.
  • To create peace of mind for everyone involved and to avoid the repercussions of leaving customers or the public without power.

Besides, implementing the right method will allow you to complete the job quickly, which means saving time and money. Knowing what needs to be done before starting is vital.

How to remove the underground cable cover

While the job must be completed properly, removing the underground cover to gain access to the electrical cables underneath is quite simple. Follow the simple steps and you won’t go far wrong:

Equip yourself (or workers) with the right tools

Before starting any excavation job, especially when working near electrical cables, all workers must have safety boots, gloves, hard hats, and appropriate attire. Meanwhile, you will need to dig underground during the task. Ensuring that the right heavy machinery is on site for this job, as well as manual digging equipment is vital. Naturally, all workers must be trained on how to use all items safely and be familiar with the project site.

Make the area safe

In addition to the personal safety of the workers, it’s important to consider the public. Depending on the location of the conduits, and where excavation work will take place, it may be necessary to provide a warning to drivers and pedestrians. Likewise, you will want to cordon off the area to protect others and allow your contractors to complete the job without disruption.

Meanwhile, you should switch off the power for the area where the cables are located. Otherwise, there will be a threat of electrical shocks or unnecessary damage to cables.

Dig underground 

Before you can remove the cables, engineers must be able to access them. In most situations, electrical conduits are buried 300-600mm below the ground. Still, it is best to check this before starting any excavation.

The good news is that underground cable covers are designed to protect cables against heavy machinery. So, it should be obvious when you reach them. You can continue to excavate with diggers and heavy machinery until they are visible.

Safely remove the underground cable cover

Manual shovels can be used to remove the layer of soil surrounding the underground cable cover. Once the entire cover is visible, the covers can be lifted by hand. 

However, each Plasslab unit can weigh up to 2kg while any debris on them can add to the weight. When combined with their size, it is necessary to do this carefully by removing one piece at a time – especially as you will often find that two or three pieces overlap each other widthwise for added cover.

The covers should be stacked in a safe place, ensuring that they are face up. If you need to access the cables underneath, continue to use a shovel to manually remove the soil between where the cover was and the conduits themselves. 

Consider additional cable protection

If cables are temporarily exposed while the cable cover is removed, you may also wish to put other protective measures in place. Cable ramps and guards can be particularly useful when needing to protect them from vehicles or heavy equipment. If the cables are to remain underground, though, refitting an electrical cable cover will be necessary to protect them for the years to follow.

The final word

Removing underground cable covers isn’t frequently required, not least when opting for the superior design of Plasgain’s products. Still, if you do need to access electrical cabling for whatever reason, knowing how to remove existing cable covers is the first step to completing your assignment safely and efficiently. 

For anyone embarking on any excavation work or electrical cabling maintenance, knowing how to handle underground cable covers will save time, money, and potential lives. Just be sure to recover the cables with premium covers at the end of the project, and you will be fine.