Accident Prevention Begins Before Excavation

First In A Two-Part Series
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2013, Vol. 68, No. 1

Many projects today involve potholing to visibly confirm the exact locations of buried facilities, sometimes required by the project owner or often because the excavator wants to confirm the exact location of buried pipe or cable where a crossing is to be made.

A locate is considered accurate at the point of a pothole, therefore keeping records of each pothole can be critical in the event of a disputed facility location.

Peterson recommends taking dated photos of each pothole, along with the information that identifies the utility, its depth at top and base, size, type, benchmark, distance from facility to benchmark and surface type. A simple form can be used to collect this information which should be signed and dated by a contractor representative. The form should include space for remarks pertaining to the potholed location.

Accurate locating and marking buried facilities and properly conducting a project reduces the risk of striking an underground utility. Efforts of the Common Ground Alliance and other organizations have initiated realistic programs to reduce underground facility accidents, and these measures are producing positive results.

Yet, utility hits still occur. The second part of this series covers how to investigate a utility strike.

Common Ground Alliance, (703) 836 1709,
National Utility Locating Contractors Association, (888) 685-2246,