A homeowner in Michigan hired a pool company to install a built-in pool. The pool company contacted MISS DIG 811 and a ticket was created and sent to facility owners in the area. All locating companies responded to the ticket and posted to Positive Response using these color codes:
• GREEN – Dig with caution following legal requirements
• YELLOW – Contact facility owner operator; then dig with caution following legal requirements
• RED – Do not dig
Three business days later, Joe from the pool company checked Positive Response and verified that all facility owners had responded. They were all green except for two. One facility owner posted ON GOING COORDINATION. Since Joe had not been contacted by the facility owner, he thought everything had been resolved and it was safe to dig. The other one posted STATED SCOPE OF WORK COMPLETE. He thought that meant the facility owner completed their marks. It really meant “Facility owner/operator confirmed stated scope of work found completed prior to dig start date.” The facility owner saw an aboveground pool already installed on site and thought the pool company had completed the pool installation.
Joe started his backhoe and dug until he heard…clink…clank…pop! He immediately stopped and assessed the situation. As he peered into the hole, it became obvious what had happened; Joe had struck a fiber line.
The fiber company’s damage team showed up to make the repair later that day. This facility owner had posted ON GOING COORDINATION because there was high priority fiber in the area. They wondered why the pool company had chosen to dig despite response 005: Ongoing mutual cooperation between facility owner operator and excavator.
The fiber company checked their posting and investigated internally why Joe had not been contacted. They concluded that someone from the company thought that they were to coordinate with their supervisor, not the excavator. So, the pool company was never contacted.
Joe realized that something went wrong, too. He did his part. He checked Positive Response and even performed a field inspection and verified markings throughout the site. What went wrong?
These situations occur far more often than they should. Though all parties intend to comply with state law and best practices, a few misconceptions can make a big difference when it comes to damage prevention.
811 Notification Centers play a key role in the resolution of these issues. MISS DIG 811 provides education for the excavation community including an easy-to-identify, color-coded system for the responses provided and their definitions. Responses that require an additional action before excavation can easily be distinguished by a quick glance. Codes with an asterisk require the facility owner or locator to provide additional information in the comments field or by providing a URL. MISS DIG 811 requires additional information be provided when using responses like ON GOING COORDINATION. The comment or URL is expected to include who was contacted and when, contact information for the locator, and the staking information that prompted the selection.
Positive Response is now a collaborative tool with the ability to communicate details that occur after the initial ticket has been placed. It provides the ability to check responses on-the-go, upload and download attachments, and communicate via messages. Collaboration is imperative to damage prevention.
Laura Arnold is Member Services Manager and has a decade of experience at MISS DIG 811. Laura has a comprehensive understanding of the needs of facility owner/operators in the state. Laura can be reached at email@example.com. Harry Carr III is Senior Project Manager with Utility Resource Group LLC. He has 20 years of experience in the utility industry and is a passionate leader for Damage Prevention. Harry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gail Wyckhouse is Education and Marketing Manager with MISS DIG 811. She has been a training and development professional for over 40 years. Her creative style has brought a fresh perspective to industry education. Gail can be reached at email@example.com.