April is #DigSafe Month so I wanted to do a special edition of NoDamage focusing on the safe digging! According to the DigSafe.ca, "Dig Safe Month is designed to coincide with the unofficial start of spring digging season and to serve as a reminder to homeowners and contractors that they need to call or click before they start digging." At Competers we serve contractors, locators, utility owners, municipalities and landscapers - basically the whole gamut of professionals who dig in the ground and need locates.
It doesn't matter which state or province you're situated in, in North America you need to contact your local 811 or One Call Center before digging. Check out the 2020 DIRT Report statistics below and you'll see that failure to contact the One Call Center before digging was the number one reason for damages in that year!
Some of the other leading causes directly correlated to excavating were digging before a test hole was made, failing to maintain clearance after verifying marks, and degraded marks on ground.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
We all know by now that we have to call or click before digging - it's a widespread message; and it's worth echoing because not enough people are listening! But for those of us in the industry that want to further improve safety on the work site there is more work to do. Here's a few tips that we share with our clients and some procedures that we've pushed with safety in mind.
1. STATE LEGAL REQUIREMENT COMPLIANCE BUILT INTO DIG TICKETS
We include state legal requirements for digging on every ticket so when the excavator receives their package they get a reminder of what they are expected to do and how to comply with the law. Our customers love this because it serves as a reminder to the excavator that they have a legal obligation to dig safely.
2. PRECISE GEO-LOCATED DRAWINGS
Marks on the ground can get disturbed and wash away. Utilocate allows you to digitally record locates and integrate it with your GIS mapping system so that precise coordinates are recorded. No more guesswork or trying to remember!
3. PRE-COMPLETION & COMPLETION CHECKS
Make your staff do checks before and after a job to ensure accuracy and legal compliance. This increases safety and reliability of locates meaning that the excavator can come in a dig confidently, knowing that the utilities have been recorded correctly.
We're all human, and humans make mistakes! Utilocate ensures that every detail of a ticket that's required is there before you can complete it. Then it sends that ticket to all the parties involved - making it virtually impossible for any miscommunication between you and the One Call Center. Every part of a locate ticket gets compiled into one package and forwarded so you don't have to look for all the different parts in different emails etc.
We're here to improve safety around critical infrastructure and whether you're locating or digging you can play your part. Feel free to share the message on social media, and share this article with industry colleagues - together we can make digging safe.
No matter how small your next digging project is, remember to keep yourself and your community safe by contacting 811 to have the location of buried utilities marked and recorded before breaking ground. Please share the following link with your friends and family who may not be in the industry so they can be safe: 811beforeyoudig.com.
- The industry gathered in Anaheim, CA for the Common Ground Alliance last week - we had a great time
- It's Dig Safe Month
- N.J. Shore city opposes plan to bury offshore wind power cables under beach, streets - link
- Modern underground network management using mixed reality - link
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