NUCA of WA is the Western Washington Chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA National). Consisting of approximately 75 members, the organization is a nonprofit trade association whose primary purpose is to represent the best interest of those in the utility construction and excavation industry. This is done through active participation with legislation, community events, promotion of the trades and industry, and ensuring the work safety of members through monthly education sessions and high-quality training offered through the association.
The association is very active with a strong legislative committee and lobbyist, including the creation of the Public Works Trust Fund in Washington State, and offering expertise at the table with the creation of the Dig Law in 2013.
One of the biggest community events is the annual Dozer Days held at the Washington State Fairgrounds. Dozer Day is like going to a fair, only the rides are real heavy construction equipment. Kids hop in the operator’s seat and actually operate dozers, excavators, and other heavy equipment (with a professional operator at their side)! This is a family-fun activity used as a platform to educate the next generation on the industry. In 2022, NUCA of WA is adding a Workforce Development Day for area high school students to come and “try-atrade” to learn about alternative career paths after graduation. Local nonprofit organizations benefit from the proceeds of this event.
One of the signature training events that NUCA is proud of is the Dig Safe Certification Training. Since 2013, I have taught this in-person class to instruct individuals who excavate about the present dig laws in the state. It is amazing how many myths are present since many people who excavate daily have never read the law themselves.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is the governing body that takes recommendations from a volunteer committee called the Washington State Dig Law Safety Committee (WSDLSC). This committee hears complaints from either the contractor or the utility owner and then decides if the law has been broken and provides a fine recommendation. The UTC reviews the recommendation and levies the fine to the failing party.
In 2015, the UTC partnered with NUCA of WA to pay for Dig Safe classes across the state using money from fines collected. UTC pays NUCA of WA to perform the training, so it is free of charge to attendees. In February 2021, NUCA of WA went live with the Online Dig Safe Certification Training platform. Approximately 3,000 people have been through the Dig Safe Certification Training program and NUCA of WA will continue to deliver this to get everyone in the state of Washington Dig Safe trained. NUCA of WA is looking to partner with other associations to accomplish this goal and get everyone trained on damage prevention. NUCA of WA hopes to see Dig Safe Training as a required certification to perform excavation on all projects, public or private.
If you are interested in joining NUCA of WA to learn or work on the association’s many initiatives, please contact Liz Truong, Executive Director, at email@example.com.