Gold Shovel Standard Enters Testing Phase of Standardized Metrics For Contractors

Santa Ana, CA, September 20, 2017 – The Board of Directors of Gold Shovel Standard has adopted the recommendations made by the Excavator Metrics Committee pertaining to a standardized damage prevention metrics as a fair and transparent means of driving continuous improvement throughout the industry. As a result, the program will enter a testing phase based on the committee’s recommendations during the fourth quarter in limited geographies. The complete set of recommendations from, and the list of members of, the Excavator Metrics Committee can be found at: Gold Shovel Standard is also hosting a survey requesting industry share its expertise on Standardized Metrics, which can be found at:

Fairly measuring damage prevention performance is difficult, given the complexity of the damage prevention process. A committee of excavators volunteered to tackle this challenging task. The committee shared its recommendations to the Gold Shovel Standard Board of Directors in early September, and the Directors voted to adopt their work. Their recommendations now move the task into a limited test phase in several key regions across the United States. Gold Shovel Standard hopes that their work is the first step in obtaining nationwide acceptance of defining reliable, standardized ways to calculate and present excavation safety performance for all stakeholders.

“Damage prevention, by its very nature, is a complex process that requires all stakeholders to complete their tasks correctly. It is no trivial effort to fairly measure damage prevention performance, with all its moving parts, subjective information, and interdependencies,” said Mike Robirds, CEO of Accu-bore Directional Drilling, and co-chair of the Excavator Metrics Committee. “The committee believes we have developed the right starting point and is excited to begin the testing phase in Q4 of 2017.”

GSS has been the driving force behind the creation of excavation metrics because they provide the means to further significantly reduce damages to critical buried infrastructure. The complex one-call process relies on all participants — one-call centers, owner / operators, locators and contractors — to perform effectively. There is wide variability within peer groups in their effective performance of this complex process, but little transparency about that variability. The absence of standardized measurements of damage prevention performance is an obstacle to continuous improvement; the committee’s work is a first step in removing that obstacle.

The business argument for industry standard excavation metrics is compelling. High-profile damages resulting in property destruction or loss of life tarnish the professionalism of an entire industry. Further, the high costs to local, city and state governments to repair damages to buried assets fuel calls for industry regulation. Metrics are an effective tool for industry to proactively police itself, and to encourage the adoption of best practices that ensure workforce and public safety.

Next Steps

Their recommendations move the task into a limited testing phase in several key regions across the United States. These recommendations are a starting point from which to validate certain hypotheses and gather real-world data for review. Gold Shovel Standard has also shared the recommendations with its member-base, and will host a conference call to discuss their implementation. Conference calls to review the committee’s report will take place on October 13th, 20th, and 27th, 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time; the phone number is (602) 831-2311.

About Gold Shovel Standard

Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) is a nonprofit organization committed to improving workforce and public safety and the integrity of vital buried infrastructure. GSS believes that greater transparency in all aspects of damage prevention among buried-asset operators, locators and contractors is essential to drive continuous improvement, and vital to ensure increasingly safe working conditions and communities. The Website is

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