Page 13 - Texas811 Magazine 2022 Issue 3
P. 13

≠ Zero Damages
That’s ok. Maybe that’s not the reason we invest in technology. We invest
in technology for greater efficiency, allowing us to do more with less employees, for greater safety for
our employees and any number of worthwhile goals. But if our industry’s goal is to work toward zero damages, it seems to me that we need to at least consider that zero damages is visible through a different lens.
And that lens is an old lens, a tried- and-true lens... it is the lens of accountability. I know. Accountability is not as sexy as AI, AR or VR. It is
not as cool as putting on our virtual reality headset and immersing ourselves in what could be the next new way of contacting, locating or digging. It’s not even as cool as the current best practice. The truth is accountability is not so much about talking as it is about doing. Doing what is supposed to be done and within some agreed upon timeline. We do that because we are accountable and if we don’t do that, we must be held accountable.
that either our goal is not achievable, or we haven’t yet developed the plan to achieve the goal, or we have the wrong people working the plan.
Zero damages is not about the next big thing, it is not about exemptions written in our laws nor is it about increasing the civil penalties in our dig laws. For zero damages to be anything more than a tagline, we must promote, measure and reward accountability in our personal and professional lives.
I believe that zero damages will require behavioral change. Behavioral change demands accountability. Can we measure it? If so, how will we measure it?
Honestly, I don’t know if zero damages is possible... I only know it is necessary! Who wants to join me in that conversation?
My conviction is that zero damages is not an achievable goal without personal and/or corporate accountability. Accountability carries with it the
idea of changing our behaviors and patterns. Enforcement programs tout that penalties are not about the money, but rather about getting stakeholders
to change their behaviors and I believe that is the goal. However, many of the behavioral changes that need to take place are within the internal business practices of organizations and not necessarily an external violation of dig laws or best practices. This is not meant to be a negative about enforcement.
We need enforcement, it is a tool that should be in every state’s toolbox. But enforcement alone will be unable to achieve the goal of zero damages.
Once upon a time, I read that if I had an achievable goal and then developed the right plan and put the right people to work the plan, nothing could stop us from achieving the goal. Looking back over the past 20 years, I conclude
2022, Issue 3
Texas811 • 11

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