April 1st is the official start of Dig Safe Month – an exciting time for excavators because the snow is finally melting and spring is on the way. If you are wondering what Dig Safe Month is all about, this blog post is for you.
Dig Safe Month is a campaign started by the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) to raise public awareness surrounding the importance of safe digging practices. The goal for this campaign is to increase safety levels for excavators and to reduce incidents that damage underground plant all across Ontario.
If you are a contractor and you are not currently involved with the ORCGA we encourage you to join. There are local Geographical Councils (GC) all over Ontario, waiting for you to attend, participate, and join the conversation. Also, we would love for you to get involved with the exciting events that are planned throughout April for Dig Safe Month.
The kickoff for this campaign will be on April 3rd at City Hall and the Covent Gardens in London, Ontario. From 11:15am – 1:00pm Dig Safe volunteers will be handing out brochures/wares to promote the ‘call before you dig’ message. Super Sucker Hydro Vac Service Inc. is a proud Corporate Sponsor of both the kickoff event and all the local events being held across the province. Some, but not all, of these upcoming events include:
• Niagara/Hamilton GC – April 9th
• Toronto GC – April 10th
• Chatham/Essex GC – April 16th
During the month of April make sure to keep your eyes open for big groups of people wearing bright yellow shirts; and ask them how you can participate to make Ontario safer for all of us.
For more information visit www.digsafe.ca
Alternate Locate Agreements (ALAs) are “contractual agreements between a facility owner and an excavator that allows the excavator to proceed with their excavation work without receiving a traditional field locate.” (source: ORCGA Best Practice Guide version 7.0) The purpose of an ALA is to allow the excavator to dig without traditional locates – ultimately speeding up the whole process. The facility owner will determine the terms, conditions and allowable work that the agreement will cover. The idea is that the allowable work would never damage underground infrastructure of any kind – so traditional locates may not be needed.
When the agreement is reached, the excavator will receive an Alternate Locate ID Number from Ontario One Call. When the excavator wishes to dig in the vicinity of the facility owner’s underground infrastructure, the excavator will contact Ontario One Call and provide the Alternate Locate ID Number. Ontario One Call will then approve the project by providing a suppressed locate usually by the next day. This is compared to waiting on average two weeks to obtain traditional locates; therefore, excavation can begin much quicker if ALAs are in play.
In order to obtain ALAs the excavator will need to have a proven track record of safe digging habits. This is because the facility owner is essentially providing the excavator permission to dig in the vicinity of their underground plant at any time. There must be a level of trust that the facility owner has with the excavator to know that their utilities will not be damaged in the process. As we have talked about in prior blog posts, hydrovac excavation is the new standard for safe digging. Therefore, ALAs are the perfect fit for hydrovac excavators. When these agreements are in place every party involved saves time and money.
For more info about ALAs visit www.orcga.com and www.on1call.com
Source: ORCGA Best Practice Guide version 7.0
Hydrovac excavation is the new standard when it comes to digging in the vicinity of underground infrastructure. Also known as “vacuum excavation, hydrovac is defined as a mechanical means of soil extraction through vacuum when using water jet devices for breaking ground. This method of excavation is commonly referred to as ‘soft excavation technology’ and is commonly accepted as being equivalent or safer than hand digging within the ‘tolerance zone’ around underground facilities.” (source: ORCGA Best Practice Guide version 7.0)
Hydrovac excavation is a proven, safe digging method, however, locates are still required when using this digging method. There has been a general misconception that hydrovac excavation does not require locates, but this is not the case. Locates can never be ignored; they are still required before any excavation can begin.
In our last blog post we talked about the ORCGA and the symposium they held in February. The ORCGA is a strong advocate for safe digging and for the importance of acquiring locates before any digging project. Protecting underground utilities is of the utmost importance, therefore the combination of obtaining valid locates and using hydrovac excavation as the preferred method of digging is key in today’s construction industry.
Super Sucker Hydro Vac Service requires locates for every job. In addition to the traditional locate, obtained through Ontario One Call, we also use Alternate Locate Agreements (ALAs), which speed up the process immensely. Make sure you stay tuned for our next blog post, which will explain ALAs in more detail.
For more information about:
• Hydrovac excavation, please see the rest of our website: www.supersucker.ca
• Locates, visit www.on1call.com
• Safe digging, visit www.orcga.com
As part of our ongoing commitment to safe digging practices, Super Sucker recently attended the ORCGA’s 10th Annual Damage Prevention Symposium in Niagara Falls held this past February. We had a fantastic time interacting with other companies, learning more about safe digging and educating others about Super Sucker. We were extremely excited to display an exhibitor’s booth at this year’s show.
For those who are unfamiliar with the ORCGA, it is a non-profit organization that strives to enhance safe digging procedures to protect underground utility infrastructure all over Ontario. This is done by creating best practice guides for digging, hosting symposiums and hosting local geographical councils. Super Sucker has been a proud member and sponsor of the ORCGA for the last nine years.
This year’s symposium was designed to educate all those involved about the importance of safe digging. Companies who have been practicing safe digging were also recognized for their positive work. The symposium offered several activities, as well as seminars, such as Developing a Safe Excavation Culture by Lee Travis and What Constitutes a Valid Locate? by B. Brown and T. Robbins. Some of the social activities included: wine tours, curling, and a tour of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. We want to thank the staff of the ORCGA for hosting an awesome event this year and we also want to thank all those who stopped by our booth. See you next year at Blue Mountain!
To learn more about the ORCGA or the symposium itself, visit www.orcga.com