Page 13 - Texas 811 Magazine
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 What I’ve learned is we’re all just people, folks trying to figure out how to get the job done.
 If ever you were able to find
the epicenter of this damage prevention industry, you would likely find yourself in the midst
of an excavation site. Roads, bridges, setting poles, plowing, trenching, boring, grading... To really get a feeling for the scope of excavation, just go
to most any 811 website and read the definition of excavation.
Here’s an example: “Excavate or excavation” means any operation in which earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below
the ground is moved or otherwise displaced by any means, except:.. “for some political exceptions.” The term “excavate” shall include, but not be limited to, the operations of demolition, blasting, grading, land leveling, trenching, digging, ditching, drilling, augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing, driving, jacking, wrecking, razing, rending, moving or removing any structure or other material or mass of material on or below the ground.
Utilities only exist because of excavation. The locating industry
exists because of excavation. We wouldn’t even need 811 centers without excavation. Federal and state regulations and laws were, for the most part, passed to regulate damages to underground infrastructure caused by excavation.
I think I see a pattern here. It should
be obvious to us all that the excavator
is a critical stakeholder in the damage prevention process. An excavator friend once told me, “If you see an excavator digging at some specific location, you can bet that he wasn’t just driving
down the road and randomly decided that this was a good spot to dig a hole. You can bet that somebody needed something, and he was sent there to fix the problem.”
But many times that creates another problem.
Another excavator friend told me the difference between a good excavator and a bad excavator is the good excavator understands his impact on the circle of damage prevention. As defined by my friend who by profession chose to be an excavator, the person who understands his impact will always call before he digs. He will wait until the area is located so that all affected utilities
are accounted for and then he’ll go about his job in a professional and safe manner.
Excavation can and often does take place without damage to underground utilities. The truth is that most of the time that is exactly what takes place. What we most often hear about are the times that failures in the process occur. And when that happens, statics
show that the majority of the time the failure is not the excavator. But like the locator, since the excavator is an easy target because both of these stakeholder groups have either touched the site or were supposed to be there. As a result, it is way too easy to point the finger at the excavator or the locator, depending on which side of the fence you stand.
What I’ve learned is we’re all just people, folks trying to figure out how
to get the job done. And the ones who get it done with the least disruption are the ones who’ve learned their impact on the circle and care about it. One of the secrets about successful projects is not a secret at all. The conversation always seems to revolve around the concept of finding ways to work together. In fact, the beginning of many projects were rough but got increasingly smoother when cards were exchanged, when phone calls were answered and when respect was shown. I think in the
old days they called that “working together.”
I think this falls under the category of “the way to achieve your success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.”
Thanks to all of you who get it... and who continue to make it happen! Dig safe...
2023, Issue 3 Texas811 • 11

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