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Image by Mikael Kristenson



December 4th, 2023

The cost in time, investigation, loss of production and loss wages to employees during the process when a utility strike occurs are some of the lessor hazards when excavation occurs and the proper locates have not been completed and our utility awareness form is not followed. In the last half of 2023 we had more than a dozen utility strikes, all but a few would have been avoided of our utility awareness policy would have been followed and locates completed or refreshed. Often deadly hazards lurking underground on excavation sites. Rupturing or breaking underground utilities such as electrical power cables and pipelines can result in serious injuries or even death. Over the past 7 years we have updated and refined the utility awareness form to help you avoid these situations.  This past week the safety committee followed the recommendations from the Superintendent/Forman’s meeting and looked at ways of adding some language to help everyone better track the locate ticket on the form.


One the updated utility awareness form that is now live on the QR code you will see a space for the Locate number as well as a space for a locate refresh date.  Please use these as a resource guide during the pre-task planning of your morning, have the General contractor go over and sign the utility awareness form and complete all the steps to avoid any utility strike or near miss.  I have attached the updated form for your review.  Please take some extra time to review the 811 guidelines and the updated Utility awareness form with your entire crew.  Operators remember to walk the site and look for signs of utilities, along with your laborers and explain to them what the plan is, where utilities are located and signs in the soils of past utility installation, (Duck banks, Gravel used during backfill, tape or wire placed, soil type of color changes). 


Plan the work and work the plan and change both of the those as needed during your task when conditions or process changes.  (Change of equipment, change of personal, change of the weather, locates need refreshed).

In the Ground


·        Before any digging takes place, even with a shovel, utility locates are required, some lines are barely beneath the surface

·        Locates include sewer, telephone, fuel, electric and water lines

·        Outline/mark your planned dig site in white

·        Two business days before you dig, CALL 811.  Remember, the day you call does not count

·        Do not dig until all known utilities are marked

·        Maintain all marks

·        Determine the precise location of the marked utilities by hand digging

·        Dig safely using proven excavating methods

·        Use handheld digging tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of any underground lines

·        Emergency excavation is not exempt from calling for locate

·        Locate marks expire 45 days from the date the excavator provides notice

·        Use pot-holing, vacuum excavation, or hand tools when digging within 3 feet of any utility.  This is our policy!


Best Practices for Maintaining Locate Marks

·        Preserve or protect as much of the original marks as possible

·        Use off-set staking, in areas where original locate marks will be continuously destroyed by excavation or weather

·        The off-set staking must be uniformly aligned and must be accurately indicated at the location of the original locate markings

·        Digital scaled photo, or other permanent scaled imaging or drawings, may be used in areas where original locate marks will be destroyed by excavation or weather.

·        Use white paint to maintain the original markings, circle the marking.

·        Bookend the original locate marks with solid white squares or brackets


Remember, we’re raising the bar on safety!

Thank you to all those that attended to Coffman Xmas party and those that donated to our yearly coat drive!  Both were a huge success…



Thank you, We have a busy year ahead so stay focused during the holiday season!

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