Page 8 - Texas811 Magazine 2022 Issue 1
P. 8

What is Safe Digging?
We have all heard the phrase safe digging from our excavators, utility companies, and regulators; but do we really understand and work toward this goal? With over 439,000 damages to underground facilities in 2017, we obviously don’t understand what safe digging is.
Planning the Work
Every company has measures to lean toward a safe digging goal. The first step is to plan the proposed work. Site and scope of work reviews are key to project planning. During this period, the project planner should white-line or create a picture of the proposed excavation area. Then the planner should contact 811 or the local numbers and request a design/survey ticket to begin the initial notifications to all utility companies.
The design ticket will allow all parties to address any encroachment and safety issues. While utility companies are not required to mark or flag their lines for a design ticket, they will inform the designer as to the location of their lines. You can often request maps from the utilities as part of the response for a design ticket; be sure
to include this request in the remarks section of the one-call ticket if maps would be useful to you. Please note that utility companies have protocols
to protect their assets from damage. These protocols may include potholing or daylighting the asset (Figure 1), enforcement of tolerance zones for excavation, and clearances for crossings and protective barriers to prevent future damages. These and other issues can easily be resolved in the design review phase.
A design ticket does not actually cover any excavation, however. A normal
Figure 1 This image shows an excavator hydro-vacuuming to pothole or “daylight” the utility. This is a safe way to get a visual confirmation as to the location of the asset.
Safe Digging?
By Doug Beck, Pipeliner with Phillips 66 Pipeline and Matthew Moors, a Damage Prevention Specialist in the energy industry
one-call ticket must be placed prior to excavation. The excavator must notify 811 and, if needed, local numbers again; this time to request markings of all affected utilities. The excavator should ensure that the scope of the work is easy to identify by the locators. This
is done by white-lining again and providing detailed driving directions in the ticket. GPS coordinates or the site address are also very helpful to locators.
The one-call ticket will list all utilities that were notified of this excavation. (Figure 2). The excavator should ensure that he or she receives a response
from every utility listed on the ticket. The responses can come via email, phone call, or site markings. Utility companies may have their own requests of the excavator and may detail those requests in the email or phone call response. Please address these requests
Figure 3 This image is an example using the Solocator App
6 • Texas811 2022, Issue 1

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