LSAW / Top 10 Hazards
LSAW (Locator Safety Awareness Week), established in 2014 by Infrastructure Resources and endorsed by Nulca, was developed to honor and recognize the important work performed by utility locating professionals. In its 5th year, LSAW is taking place April 22-28, 2018, during the final week of National Safe Digging Month. LSAW gives the damage prevention community the perfect opportunity to not only promote awareness of the hazards utility locators frequently face, but also to acknowledge utility locators for the invaluable work they perform in protecting our underground infrastructure and those who rely on it every single day.
To better understand the hazards that utility locators grapple with throughout the course of their day, we conducted a survey this past year which gave those in the field a chance to rank their top 10 hazards (1 = most dangerous, 10 = least dangerous) as well as the opportunity to share various safety tips with their fellow locators.
As you can see, the overwhelming majority of utility locators who participated in this survey were most concerned with the inherent danger associated with working in the road, namely distracted drivers. It’s easy to see why this is their biggest concern, because according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,477 fatalities and 391,000 injuries attributed directly to distracted driving in 2015 alone. When working in or near a thoroughfare locating buried utilities, it might not always be top of mind to be aware of the fact that someone may be texting on their phone, fiddling with the stereo, or performing one of a myriad of other activities that could divert attention from what they need to be focused on. Having this heightened awareness could potentially save lives.
The other nine hazards listed (and countless others not listed) are certainly with merit and should not be disregarded. From heat stroke and dehydration, to encountering various critters like wasps, rats, or even a 9’3” Red-tailed Boa Constrictor (nope, I wouldn’t want to come across one either), one must constantly be vigilant when performing the job of damage prevention. Utility locators are seeking to protect our vital underground infrastructure and those who are digging within its vicinity, whether with a shovel or a backhoe or any other implement inbetween. In the end, they are also doing their best to ensure their own safety so that they can gather around the dinner table with their family after a long day’s work. Here is a collection of insightful tips and suggestions that several experienced utility locators shared with us to help keep everyone safe:
• Always wear proper reflective vests and safety gear. Also, stay hydrated throughout the day.
• Use your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and always watch where you’re walking.
• When working in the road (any road) make sure to have your reflective vests on. A safety green shirt or sweatshirt is not sufficient enough to be locating in roadways. Also, make sure you have every light (beacon, LED bar, hazard lights and/or strobes) on while parked on the side of all roads.
• Stretch out your arms, shoulders, and legs. Change up how you carry and hold equipment. It may seem like no big deal, but working on a crew for 20+ years I’ve seen a lot of repetitive stress issues that can be prevented by following these tips.
• Personal safety is just as important as driving safety. Keep your head on a swivel and identify the personal safety hazards before they become an issue.
• Always be sure to “tap” pedestals before opening to ensure safety from bees and snakes. Never just reach inside a pedestal.
• Be hyper-aware of your surroundings!
• Eat healthy, sleep more, use stress relieving activities to set yourself up for success as a fully alert and mindful damage prevention specialist.
Leading up to and during LSAW, we strongly encourage you to visit LocatorSafety.com and check out our selection of FREE promotional tools for you to use. Go digital like our friends at Georgia811 did last year. They spread the #LSAW message by utilizing our social media toolkit across all their various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) and also utilized some of our downloadable web buttons in one of their eNewsletters and on their website.
Last year, Nulca, a driving force behind the development of LSAW, encouraged its member companies to have daily safety talks with their locators and to designate one of the days during LSAW, as “Locator Appreciation Day,” thanking them for a job well done. Let us not forget that LSAW is just as much about expressing our gratitude as it is about spreading safety awareness.
On LocatorSafety.com, we also have safety awareness cards which make a wonderful handout for your entire crew. An 11×17 poster, reinforcing the “Top 10 Locator Safety Hazards,” is also available for download and would be a perfect addition to the office. LSAW might only occur once per year, but our utility locators will be out there come rain or shine all year long.
CGA’s Best Practices Guide Celebrates 15 Years With Release of Best Practices 15.0
CGA’S longest-standing program, Best Practices, celebrated the release of Best Practices 15.0 at the CGA Conference and Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
The CGA Best Practices are agreed on by consensus of all 16 CGA stakeholder groups and designed to improve worker safety, protect vital underground infrastructure and ensure public safety during excavation activities conducted near existing underground facilities.
CGA releases a new edition of the comprehensive Best Practices Guide every spring with updates that reflect changes in damage prevention, especially those caused by the always-evolving technologies that are at the core of progress in the industry.
If you weren’t at the CGA Conference or didn’t pick up a copy of Best Practices 15.0 in Phoenix, you can download a digital version of the guide at CommonGroundAlliance.com/programs/best-practices.
We look forward to working with all of you throughout what’s shaping up to be a very successful 2018!
CGA Issues Inaugural Technology Report on the State of Damage Prevention Tech
LAST MONTH, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) issued its first-ever Technology Report detailing the state of current and emergent technologies available to the damage prevention industry. Based on responses from a survey of CGA’s membership and other sources, the organization’s Technology Committee, which is charged with driving the industry to develop and utilize technologies that will decrease the probability or consequences of excavation damages, authored the inaugural version of what will become an annual report.
Available for download on its website (www.commongroundalliance.com), CGA’s 2018 Technology Report reviews current technologies available in every sector of damage prevention: locating, excavating, One Call, imaging, pipeline data acquisition, data management and visualization, GIS/GPS/mapping, predictive analytics/risk assessment, mobile data collection, training/education and public awareness.
Critically, in addition to highlighting currently used damage prevention technologies, the report also identifies available technologies that could have damage prevention applications, as well as gaps in damage prevention technology, with the goal of inspiring innovation in this important area of public safety.
The report concludes with three case studies that share the successes of those deploying new damage prevention technologies. While CGA does not promote or endorse any specific products, companies or vendors, these case studies tell the stories of how innovators are collaborating with members of the damage prevention industry to tackle tough problems like cross bores with unique partnerships and technical approaches.
CGA’s Technology Committee invites all damage prevention stakeholders to read its first-ever report on the current state of damage prevention technology on the CGA website, and contribute to the next annual report via the always-open technology survey, which can also be found in the Tech Committee section of www.commongroundalliance.com.
Advocates Celebrate the 10th Annual National Safe Digging Month
DAMAGE PREVENTION stakeholders across the United States are currently observing National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) for the 10th consecutive year, using a wide variety of tactics designed to achieve a collective goal of raising public awareness about the importance of 811 and safe digging practices. Hopefully, you’re seeing or participating in a range of internal and community-focused communications and events reminding everyone to always call 811 before digging.
If your April is not already packed with NSDM activities, it’s not too late to refer to CGA’s 2018 Communications Plan for easily customizable media and communications materials, or ideas for quick company or community events. The 2018 Communications Plan features a special NSDM section, which includes documents to assist in creating and implementing events in conjunction with Earth Day and Arbor Day, along with a toolkit dedicated to engaging public officials (from governors to town councils) in proclaiming support for the importance of NSDM. Learn more at CommonGroundAlliance.com/damage-prevention/toolkits.
While CGA always encourages you to know what’s below, the member-driven organization would also like you to keep your eyes on the skies this NSDM as its two new 811 Hot Air Balloons, designed by Alabama 811 and sponsored by Cox Utility Services, will be making their way across the country. Visit CGA’s 811 Toolkit on www.commongroundalliance.com for information about the 811 Balloons’ stops, as well as how to reserve a balloon for your events.
Be sure to keep CGA abreast of your NSDM activities by emailing information and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.