Global Perspective – CCGA Best Practice Committee Pushes Forward

DESPITE THE PANDEMIC that has affected all our lives, the important work of damage prevention in Canada continued the past two years at the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA). Forced to move in-person meetings online and the local restrictions that impacted the Regional Partners ability to meet, the national Best Practice Committee continued to push forward the development of several best practices. In early 2022, the CCGA will proudly release one of its signature publications, Best Practices, version 4.0.

The CCGA Best Practice Committee does the important work of reviewing suggested changes to the National Best Practices and taking part in the consensus-based process that determines what our guiding best practices will be. It is critical to the integrity of that process that the highest number of stakeholder groups possible are represented at the table. No single interest group can fully understand the most important elements in keeping people safe, so every group’s viewpoint needs to be considered.

A best practice is by definition a proven methodology or technique that most reliably gets to the desired result. A commitment to implementing best practices means a commitment to use all knowledge and technology available to be successful.

Several important new and revised best practices were reviewed and passed by consensus in 2021:

• BP 4-16 – Marking Preservation – A statement on how to preserve locate marks and avoid unnecessary remarks. Defining the steps necessary to adequately protect the marks.

• BP 4-11 – Locate Verification – A statement on providing clarity around what constitutes a complete locate package. Adding the locate confirmation page can reduce the confusion over which utilities were notified and which ones might have been overlooked.

• Glossary – Added a definition for hand digging which matches the CSA Z247 definition of hand digging. Z247 states that hand digging is “any movement of earth using a hand shovel,” and “this does not include using picks, bars, stakes, or other earth-piercing devices.” It also defines the hand expose zone as the “area around the underground infrastructure where ground disturbance by mechanical equipment cannot take place until the underground infrastructure has been exposed by safe ground disturbance practices such as hand digging or vacuum excavation.”

• BP 4-2 – Privately Owned Facility Awareness – A statement on awareness of private facilities and the steps to take to identify them. Privately owned buried facilities are typically not marked by representatives of the public utility owners beyond the demarcation point for each utility. The excavator should have all known private facilities in and near the work area identified, located, and marked prior to excavation activities.

During 2021, several members of the committee participated in a government-sponsored workshop on underground strikes. Based on the list of controls/solutions provided by the subject matter experts from industry, research, and government (regulator), the number one action item was “Develop best practice guidelines for planning and working in the vicinity of underground utilities.” This includes roles and responsibilities to promote accountability among supervisors and workers as well as One Call, utility owners and municipalities.

What we’re Working on in 2022

The CCGA Marketing & Education Committee is undertaking a review of the CCGA Best Practices section 7.0 which describes Public Education Best Practices on Damage Prevention. The last revision made to this section occurred in 2010, long before the advent of social media, the rise of YouTube, the use of podcasts and other current communication methods. Several proposals have been submitted to modernize existing practices by creating “continuing awareness communication plans.”

In Summary

The pandemic has restricted all types of industry meetings and groups. If it was not for the dedication of the members of the CCGA Best Practice Committee and the continued shared responsibility of the Regional Partners, we would not have been able to deliver what we did in 2021.

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