Publisher’s Column -IDIG: International Damage Incident Group

IDIG: International Damage Incident Group

The CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) is a system for gathering data regarding damage and near-miss events from excavation activities related to buried facilities in the U.S. and Canada. The database identifies the characteristics, themes, and contributing factors leading to damages and near misses, and publishes them in an annual DIRT report. Successfully implemented by CGA in 2003, DIRT continues to grow and add real value to industry stakeholders throughout the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately, by its very definition, DIRT cannot bring the same value to the other 193 countries around the world that are not able to report into it.

A group of international damage prevention leaders, known as IDIG, are currently seeking a way of working together beyond borders to bring to light a tracking system that will adopt the standards and reporting structures of DIRT but with the added benefit of country-to-country damage data comparison. The intent is to utilize the North American experience to fast track the process and avoid past mistakes. IDIG members agree to open dialogue and a free exchange of ideas to improve education and engagement concerning the safety of individuals affected by this critical societal issue. The group understands the necessity of looking to those who benefit the most from the analysis of the data collected to determine which data they willing to provide that helps best analyze the damage issues at hand to provide the most benefit.

A major challenge they are facing is data sovereignty issues. Data for Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Asia cannot be stored in the U.S.; conversely, the data from the U.S. would most likely not be able to be stored in these regions. Therefore, there needs to be a compatible solution that shares a standard for collecting and analyzing the data, not a common system.

In an effort to develop an international data exchange standard for damage recording and reporting, IDIG is currently working to establish the type of data and metric(s) that will allow an understanding and comparison of information across a town, city, province, state, territory or country and then determine how best to use that data to understand why one region may have less damage than another. Publishing this data along with best practices will allow all countries and regions access to these understandings and help drive participation.

IDIG hopes to develop case studies to encourage regions where there is no reporting, bad reporting or exemptions, to participate in providing damage data and shift the culture of damage reporting by using and demonstrating world best practices for data collection and participation.

The group intends to include representation from facility operations and government/regulatory entities as well. Work groups will focus on different initiatives including governance, data, advocacy, international outreach, and validation and publication.

In this enlightened time of international communication, our world continues to grow smaller. We can no longer afford to limit our opportunities for increased knowledge and engagement by enforcing arbitrary boundaries. To remain relevant in our global community, we need to think on a global scale. I applaud the efforts of this forward-thinking group and encourage those interested in learning more about this lofty goal to contact Committee Chair, Bruce Campbell, at bcampbell@missdig811.org.

Current IDIG members:

• Duane Rodgers, CEO, PelicanCorp; representing International One Call Operations in NZ, Ireland, Singapore, Portugal, China

• Bruce Campbell, CEO, MISS DIG 811; CGA Data Committee member, Current Committee Chair

• Bill Fisher, Executive Assistant, MISS DIG 811

• Mike Sullivan, President, Alberta One-Call; Executive Director, Canadian CGA

• Jemmie Wang, CEO, Bizmetrix; CGA Data Committee member

• Rick Galyean, CEO, Oropala

• James Wingate, Executive Director, USA North 811

• Louis Panzer, Executive Director, North Carolina 811

• Phil Cornforth, General Manager, Utility Strike Avoidance Group (USAG), UK

• Bruce Coleman, Infrastructure Damage Reporting Officer, Australia

• Dr. Ahmed Al-Bayati, Lawrence Tech, Michigan

• Isaac Weathers, CEO, Norfield, USA

• Javid Kahn, Executive Director, Operations-compliance and Controls- Consumers Energy, USA

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