BC Common Ground Alliance’s 2011 DIRT Report Reveals the Importance of Calling Before Digging

One free phone call reduces likelihood of potentially dangerous incidents.

The BC Common Ground Alliance (BCCGA) has found that the majority of reported damage to underground infrastructure could be prevented with a free telephone call. The 2011 BC Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report is the first report on damage and near-miss events involving underground infrastructure in British Columbia. Of the reported events for 2011, 72% occurred when excavators did not notify BC One Call.

BC One Call is a service that connects anyone planning to dig with utility owners who might own underground utilities on the dig site. Knowing the location of underground utilities can prevent dangerous unplanned hits leading to property damage, worker injury, loss of service, electrocution, or, in extreme cases, explosion or fire. BC One Call can be reached toll-free by calling 1-800-474-6886.

The 2011 BC DIRT Report also reveals that a large portion of events was caused by insufficient excavation practices. This includes failure to use safe digging procedures or selecting the wrong tools for the project. The BCCGA, with the aid of industry stakeholders, publishes an excavation Best Practices manual that is available at no cost at www.commongroundbc.ca.

The BCCGA is a stakeholder-run non-profit organization leading development of consistent practices and coordination of activities to ensure the highest possible standards of worker safety, public and damage prevention in connection with underground infrastructure. The DIRT Report is one of many BCCGA efforts to understand and prevent unsafe excavation practices.

The complete DIRT Annual Report for 2011 is available for download.