The Health & Safety Executive has issued a safety warning about excavations near lamp posts, after a baby was killed in a tragic accident in February 2010.
A lamp post fell on the baby and its pram, also injuring its mother, when they were walking past road works in Turnham Green, west London.
Although the lamp post was outside the boundary of the site, the design of its foundation was 'offset', probably to avoid underground services or other obstructions.
The failure of the lamp post was a direct result of a cut through a horizontal connection between the column and its foundation, within the boundary of the roadworks site, according to the HSE.
It added that offset foundation designs are relatively uncommon and may account for approximately 2% of lamp columns installed in the UK, although they may be concentrated at higher levels in areas where there are significant underground obstructions.
The HSE said: “Local authorities, organisations in control of lamp columns, utilities and contractors engaged in street and road works should ensure that they are aware of the types of non-standard lamp column root design.
“Asset owners or managers for lamp columns should ensure that information in their possession about the type of foundation of non-standard root lamp columns (such as that held in asset management systems), or which is readily obtainable, is provided promptly to persons designing street and road works and to organisations and contractors appointed to carry out street and road works.”