The topic of Locator Certification versus Locator Competency has been a debated topic for many years and, more recently, a “hot topic” in the Underground Facility Locating Industry. The Canadian Association of Pipeline and Utility Locating Contractors (CAPULC) has had its challenges with past projects in relation to advancing and uniting training initiatives for locators while seeking recognition for their craft in the Industry.
CAPULC’s role was not designed to develop or endorse specific training or recommend one training provider over another. We do recognize that some facility owners and training partners in the industry are offering courses created with the intuition to improve facility locator competency. We always encourage our members and others seeking a training program to do their research and explore the course(s) that best meet their current requirements and locations.
BY ESTABLISHING THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE STANDARDS FOR THE INDUSTRY, OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO PRESENT A GENERATION OF QUALIFIED, COMPETENT LOCATING TECHNICIANS, TRAINED TO EXCEL IN THEIR FIELD. STANDARDIZATION AND COMPLIANCE TO THE RULES AND REGULATIONS WILL BENEFIT EVERYONE IN THE UNDERGROUND PIPELINE AND UTILITY LOCATING INDUSTRY. TOGETHER WE CAN ENCOURAGE THE LOCATE INDUSTRY AND THE GROUND DISTURBANCE COMMUNITY TO MEET AND EXCEED SAFETY EXPECTATIONS, PERFORM EACH JOB WITH DUE DILIGENCE, AND GOVERN THE APPLICATION OF RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THEY PERTAIN TO THE INDUSTRY.
So, what is CAPULC working on? CAPULC’s mission and objectives are clear: “We provide leadership, promote safety and enhance the value and reputation of the Underground Facility Locating Industry in Canada”.
In 2021, CAPULC set out it’s objectives for their Education and Standards Committee. Our guidelines were to develop a National Underground Facility Locating and Marking Standard. The intent of this document was designed to ensure consistent practices across the country while allowing provincial and industry modifications in the future. With the help of a third-party contactor, we collected an inventory of resources available to us from a variety of sources across Canada. Over the ensuing months, we worked tirelessly to meet this initiative and successfully create a National Underground Facility Locating and Marking Standard, soon to be released! The introduction of this document explains that it “represents best practices based on the accumulated experience and consensus among the majority of CAPULC member companies for locating underground infrastructure and related tasks beyond those captured in regulation and current certification” and “establishes a meaningful reference tool to enhance learning for a locator as a complement to the existing industry’s knowledge base and documentation.” Upon further inspections of this document, you will find foundational information on roles and responsibilities, worker and site safety, qualifications and certifications, equipment, facility marking, steps necessary in performing a locate, documentation and so much more!
To ensure we had industry participation, collaboration, and acknowledgement, this document was exposed to Industry through two 30-day feedback releases Canada-wide. With the valuable comments and overwhelming support received, CAPULC is now at a pivotal moment for release of this document as their First Version. We couldn’t be more proud of this accomplishment. However, as important as it is looking back at accomplishments, we are always looking toward the future. We have kept a detailed log for continuous improvement items and will want to address these in future releases. We must also consider our next steps. While training facilitators can deliver theoretical knowledge, what do we do to ensure skills, experience and behaviour requirements are being met? How can we continue to assist training providers in advancing their programs, support locators in closing the loop for competency requirements needed to meet this new Standard, and finally, how do we continue to promote our Association’s mission, objectives and support our members with the growth of the Locating Industry?
We want to thank Infrastructure Resources and the Excavation Safety Alliance for the opportunity to share this information.