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Trouble in Edinburgh as CityFibre Contractor KNNS Slapped for Unsafe Work

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 (9:13 am) - Score 2,710

Cityfibre has suspended one of their civil works contractors, KNNS, in the city of Edinburgh (Scotland). The action occurred after a dashcam video emerged that showed one of their fibre optic engineers sitting exposed in a manhole on a busy 30MPH street, with only two small traffic cones for protection.

The incident, which occurred on 27th February 2017 at 1:17pm in the Craiglockhart area, depicts the moment when a Nissan Micra appears to swerve in order to avoid hitting the man who is sat low in a manhole. So low that he is practically invisible to the trailing vehicle, which also conducts a sharp manoeuvre in order to avoid hitting him. The engineer also appears to have neglected his Hard Hat but that probably wouldn’t help vs a face full of Micra.

The footage, which was obtained by Scotland’s Worst Drivers ™ and posted on Edinburgh News, may at least come in handy as a future education tool for contractors under the title – ‘HOW NOT TO DO IT!’. Meanwhile Edinburgh City Council has condemned the case and requested that Cityfibre carry out a full investigation. The Council also claims that they weren’t notified about the work.

A Spokesman for CityFibre said:

“After an initial investigation, we can confirm that the construction worker shown in the video footage was working for KNNS, a CityFibre contractor.

We have now invoked an immediate stop to all KNNS works conducted on behalf of CityFibre until the incident is fully investigated alongside KNNS management.

CityFibre takes its commitment to the health and safety of its staff, contractors and members of the public extremely seriously.”

Normally most complaints about the work that fibre optic / broadband engineers do tends to be centred around the unwanted disruption or damage that can sometimes be caused by civil works, much of which is often unavoidable. However we rarely see such obvious safety failings. A good contractor will know to setup proper traffic management, clear warnings and ideally some additional protection for themselves.

Just as some context. Cityfibre has recently been busy extending their existing Edinburgh CORE Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband and Ethernet network in Edinburgh to around 150km (here), although the above incident appears to reflect a maintenance visit rather than new construction. KNNS has so far declined to comment.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. craski says:

    WOW – That guy is lucky to still be alive! It isnt clear who is at fault here though, it would be easy to blame the guy in the hole but was he properly trained or put under unnecessary pressure to put himself at risk like this?

  2. John says:

    I’ve seen some astonishingly poor work being carried out by FTTH contractors around Berkshire, digging up verges that belong to homes, closing roads they are not supposed to, damaging peoples property etc. None the the cable seems to be being installed in ducts either, just dropped in the ground about 20cm below the surface!

    1. Peter says:

      Well that is how it is economically viable!
      If you go any deeper you come across gas/water pipes and electrical cables which should be a fixed lower depths
      So stay above them then you don’t have to bother about the other services and endless checking for their presence in your way and it all becomes (lots) cheaper.
      Additionally if you don’t use ducts you can roll out the cable reel as you go into the trench. One you start ducting it you need duct pulling chambers and jointing chambers and then the price starts to go through the roof….and the whole project becomes non viable.
      The Gigaclear supply for me and the village is approx 1 ft below my mown grass verge.
      Oh yes and verges do not belong to homes unless its a private road. The verge is part of the public highway. it only gets messy when there is a umpteen meter wide verge where part may belong to the frontager.

    2. New_Londoner says:

      Presumably the practice of putting non-ducted fibre a few inches underneath soft verges is a major contributor to the repeated network outages that Gigaclear seems to be suffering from at the moment?

    3. Peter says:

      Not to my knowledge @Chris
      …..and no it is not (round my area) a few inches below the surface. The fibre is around 1 ft which is 12 inches with a green “fibre below” trace tape above it.
      The fibre spine cables had some form of ?steel? armouring round them below the final sheath.

      The recent failures at GC were
      1. In the Backhaul of C&W by diggers excavating mega fibre cables some 50 miles away.
      2. In the network switches at GC or something to do with them.

      There has never yet been any problem in my area of anyone damaging any of the installed fibres since installation a few years ago.

    4. Peter says:

      Sorry the above comment should have been addressed to @New_Londoner not @Chris
      (Why can we not edit our replies on this blog….)

  3. Fastman says:

    lest hope you don’t have a problem under your lawn

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