Target Zero: Avoiding At-Fault Incidents

Midco is dedicated to maintaining a competitive, safe, and productive work environment for its employees, customers, contractors, and the communities we work within. To help ensure a safe and efficient work environment, Midco’s corporate construction team  created a zero tolerance safety policy called “Target Zero.” The expectations and responsibilities of safety on our projects are clearly outlined in our safety policy, allowing for our general contractors, subcontractors and employees to be confident in their well-being while assuring our customers that projects are executed professionally and safely. Our corporate construction team is onsite throughout each project and meets daily with our contractors to discuss safety, production quantities and product installation quality. All construction phases are quality assured to ensure our strict standards are met.

Safety Expectations of Our Contractors
All of Midco’s general contractors and subcontractors must attend weekly meetings and complete the critical infrastructure damage prevention programs with the appropriate utility companies. A safety meeting must also take place with the responsible contractor or subcontractor when damage occurs.  In addition, an onsite investigation is required. The investigation includes the responsible party, general contractor representative, Midco Project Manager and/or Midco representative and a representative of the damaged utility.

“If an accident is deemed “at-fault,” the excavator will be interviewed by the Project Manager and General Contractor and released from the project.”

Implementation of exposing located utilities and visual inspection has been incorporated into our safety guidelines. Midco’s quality assurance personnel must inspect exposed utilities prior to any excavation taking place.

All crews must have experienced foremen and must have experienced drill operators (3+ years).  All drill operators are interviewed by our Project Manager prior to working on behalf of Midco.

On average, there must be one experienced supervisor dedicated to a maximum of four crews and the general contractors must have one full-time experienced site manager. Contractors are also required to provide detail of their safety programs. Everyone is required to wear proper safety equipment (safety vests, hard hats, etc.).

Incident Management
When an incident occurs, documentation is logged detailing each incident with address, contractor name, a description of what happened and how it was repaired/resolved. In addition, Midco is prepared for a possible OSHA inspection and reviews its policy of what each contractor’s role is when a compliance officer inspects the site. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is reviewed and all signage is placed prior to commencing work.

All contractors and subcontractors must have a plan for the local medical facilities with the Project Superintendent or appropriate contractor representative. This plan must be reviewed with all employees so they are aware of the medical facilities in the area in case of a medical emergency.

Damage and Incident Reports
Midco reviews all requirements and expectations for damage and incident reporting. Any damage incident will have a mandatory site meeting with a representative from the contractor, utility company, and Midco to determine fault onsite.

If an accident is deemed “at-fault,” the excavator will be interviewed by the Project Manager and General Contractor and released from the project. It is our goal to have zero at-fault incidents during any Midco construction project.

A Damage Incident Report must be filled out in its entirety and provided to the Midco Project Manager and/or Midco representative within 24 hours of the damage. Damage invoices and disputes must be fully paid and/or rectified within 45 days.

Target Zero Safety Protocol
1. All pot holes must be inspected prior to any underground excavation by a contractor representative and a Midco Quality Assurance representative. The final path needs to be approved by Midco before underground excavation begins.

2. All Midco personnel, contractors, and subcontractors must follow all traffic laws. Vehicles must be legally parked and on the same side of the street where possible. Do not block driveways or sidewalks. Place two cones per vehicle and three per trailer. Ensure all MUTCD codes are adhered to.

3. Abide by all city, county, township and state right-of-way management rules and regulations. All city, county, township and state rules and regulations supersede Midco’s policies.

4. Hard hats and contractor ID badges must be worn at all times on the Midco project construction site.

5. Digging or potholing requires the excavator to start two feet away from the marked utility, hand digging cautiously and downward to the approximate depth, then start gently working towards the marked utility. Holes must be exposed two feet on each side of the utility, along with 12 inches below the utility.

6. When boring to cross below a utility, you must have 12 inches minimum clearance below the utility (where feasible). When crossing above the utility, verify the depth of the utility and maintain a safe separation of 12 inches. When boring, visually verify location of drill head when crossing the exposed utility. When paralleling an existing utility,  excavators are required to pothole every 50 feet to verify location and depth. In some instances based on utility location marks, this is done every 20 feet.

7. All areas of excavation must be secured after the hole is inspected. This requires the use of barriers, plywood, fencing, or cones, depending on the area where the work is being performed.

8. All excavated dirt within city limits of a metro/ urban area or community must be placed on tarps.

9. Anything that is placed on the sidewalk must have cones placed either by it or on it, along with a safe area for pedestrians to cross. Follow the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) restrictions for a sidewalk closure.

10. All potholes left open overnight must be secured by either the use of barriers, orange fencing or completely covered with one-inch minimum plywood and a cone placed on the plywood. Street cuts that are left open must be coned off with proper lighted barrels or covered with the proper vehicle rated steel plates. Ensure all MUTCD codes are adhered to.

11. Proper work attire of jeans, shirt, and a traffic safety vest are required to be worn.  OSHA approved boots must also be worn. Clothing that is vulgar, obscene, or can be seen as derogatory to or by a certain race or religion shall not be worn by any contractor or subcontractor employee.

Midco evaluates contractors daily based on the following criteria:
• No incidents
• No fault – unpreventable: unmarked utilities that you were unable to see/identify
• No fault – preventable: unmarked utility
• At fault: hit marked utility
• Minimum of 500 feet per day, per boring crew (requirement expectations may vary by project)
• Has area been returned to pre-construction condition?
• Have AHJ’s restoration guidelines been met?
• Materials and tools kept neat
• No trash left on site
• No vulgar language
• Wearing appropriate clothing
• Use of magnetic contractor signs on vehicles
• Clean vehicles
Safe Exposure of Utilities:
• Ensure utility crossings are exposed two feet (both sides) and one foot below the exposed utility
• All utilities are exposed

In addition to the safe excavation requirements and contractor guidelines, Midco obtains a GPS point of all utility crossings. These include depth and type of facility crossed and every 20 feet of the newly placed infrastructure. One advantage we have doing this is when a facility isn’t marked during the construction phase and a contractor nicks a line only to be discovered later, Midco has record of all crossed utilities. Therefore, we know when a utility is not marked.

Midco takes damage prevention very seriously. Our safety record and Target Zero policy continue to prove time and time again that when safety is put first, everyone wins.

Erin Hayes is Director of Corporate Construction with Midco, directing and managing the technology construction group, which provides new infrastructure to newly acquired franchises and communities. Erin will be moderating the Fiber Optic Asset Protection
Industry Summit at the 2018 CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo.

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