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  What Can Hurt Me or My Crew Today?
Before starting work each day, it’s vital to undergo a standard evaluation process to analyze the tasks and potential hazards. This may involve a self-
check for proper personal protective equipment (PPE), a review of a Job Safety Analysis (JSA), an inspection
of the work area, and a check on tools or equipment. This process’s primary goal is to promptly identify and address any hazards, either by elimination or mitigation. Before initiating any work task, a valuable question is: “What can hurt me or my team today?”
Sure, questioning yourself about potential hazards may seem sober and negative, especially at the beginning of your workday or starting a new task; however, asking this question should prompt you to stop and look around your work area and consider what hazards you may encounter.
Allow me to mention excavations and 811.
Here is the scenario:
Your crew is on location with equipment onsite, JSAs signed, and
permits completed. Are you ready to dig?
Here are a few questions to consider:
Is there an active one call? Did I wait the required 48 business hours? Have all utilities responded? Is it safe to
dig? Identifying uncontrolled hazards includes calling 811 for a One-Call ticket before excavation. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.
Let’s address and correct some misconceptions surrounding damage prevention.
Some might believe, “Once I call 811, my responsibility for damage prevention
is over, and if anything goes wrong,
811 is at fault.” WRONG. Texas811 does not physically locate lines; instead, we notify our members. Their in-house
or third-party locators complete the locating process. Texas811 serves as the crucial connection between our members and excavators.
Another misconception might be, “The depths of utilities can be assumed.” This is also WRONG. Locator depths are approximate, and assumptions about utility depths should never be made.
To get the actual depth of utilities, they must be exposed through proper excavation procedures.
According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), utility lines are struck every 6 minutes. While some crews are fortunate (lucky) to finish projects without any injuries or incidents, others face severe injuries, high repair expenses, outages, and, tragically, loss of life.
Invest the time and effort to effectively mitigate hazards so that you, your coworkers, and your crews remain unaffected by potential risks.
While maintaining a positive mindset and attitude is crucial for workplace success, posing blunt questions like “What risks am I facing today – what can hurt me or my crew?” prompts additional evaluation of tasks. It’s vital to take responsibility for hazards in your work area and ensure they are addressed promptly. After all, planning and taking essential precautions can prevent injuries or even save lives.
For more information on damage prevention and the one call process, please log on to the Texas811 website.
By Ketha Molina
Senior Damage Prevention Manager Texas811
2024, Issue 1 Texas811 • 7

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