Fencing contractor Elliott’s footage went viral in June 2022 when his post knocker hit an underground gas pipeline on a farm in Derbyshire. He has now teamed up with safe digging experts LSBUD and Linewatch to create a safety awareness video.
The campaign focuses on Elliott’s experience of striking the pipeline, recounting the moments after the explosion and looking at what he would do differently if he had the chance to do so. The video explores the unseen dangers beneath the ground, when breaking ground as part of construction, highways, utility, farming or fencing work. It also looks at the perils of digging ‘blind’ and explains some best practices people must follow to avoid damage to the environment, serious injury, or even death.
Elliott said: “The video is hard-hitting. It is the first time I have discussed the incident, and it is tough to bring it back up. For a few seconds I simply thought that my time was up, and I was more than incredibly lucky to walk away with not so much as a scratch on me. After I recovered from the initial shock, my only thought was, ‘I don’t want anyone else going through this’.
“That’s why when the people at LSBUD and Linewatch approached me to talk about my accident, I jumped at the chance. If I could use this unwanted ‘fame’ as a way to make people safer then at least something good could come out of it. I want to make sure that anyone out there thinking of putting a hole in the ground, no matter if it is knocking in a fencing post, planting a tree, or taking on a major construction project, then they should always search before they start work.”
Richard Broome, MD at LSBUD, said: “Often in our world of work, it is only the serious incidents that really capture the nation’s attention. Fortunately, Elliott was largely unharmed, but his video has been seen by millions of people around the world, putting the potential dangers of digging into the spotlight. Rather than shy away from the incident, Elliott wanted to spread the safe digging message, helping keep other people safe on site. It is a brave and honourable approach, and one that will benefit many projects, potentially saving many lives.”