Suction and Vacuum Excavator Interest Group 

This interest group was formed in February 2016 as suction/vacuum excavators have become prolific items of plant in recent years and particularly suited to carry out excavations around buried services and other sensitive areas where a hand dig-only requirement exists. Hirers and contractors have invested in these specialised machines but as with all plant, requires a trained and competent operator to safely and effectively carry out the work, and for an effective safety management system to be in place.

Following a tragic accident which resulted in the death of the operator of a truck-mounted unit, this galvanised the industry into seeking safe practices and the management of suction and vacuum excavator operations. In order to prevent such an event occurring again, a number of voluntary meetings of contractors and hirers were subsequently held from which an agreement was made to form a Special Interest Group and includes owners, hirers, manufacturers, clients and health & safety professionals. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also acts in an advisory role for legislative and regulatory-related requirements.

The group have devised good practice guides for a range of areas including a safe use guidance as their first project, which is available as a free download. Thiis publication is under review for 2024.

SAVE is currently chaired by Declan Burke of Force One Ltd.