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2021 DIRT Report: Analyzing the work performed when damages occur

  • 10 November 2022
  • Author: Sarah Daley
  • Number of views: 127
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The 2021 DIRT Report analyzes many data points about reported damages to underground utilities, including the type of excavator that damaged the facility, the stakeholder that reported the damage, the type of equipment used and more. The Report also takes a look at the type of work being performed when damages occur, from roadwork to fence installation, and found that when damages occurred in 2021, utility work was being performed more than half of the time (60.24%).

Municipal utility work – namely water and sewer – was being performed during more than a quarter of all reported damages in 2021 (25.89%), followed by telecom (12.9%), natural gas (11.42%) and electric (10.03%) utility work. The data demonstrates that municipalities and utility companies can be a pivotal stakeholders in decreasing damage rates by examining their internal processes ensuring that their excavators and locators – as well as their hired contractors – are following damage prevention best practices during utility work involving excavation.

The 2021 DIRT Report specifically recommends that members “strengthen engagement with public works stakeholders” to address the large portion of damages occurring during municipal utility work. Increasing damage prevention participation from water, sewer and other municipal stakeholders at a local and national level can help address a large portion of damage instances happening during utility work.

Consider the following strategies to improve outreach to municipal utility stakeholders:

  • Offer free damage prevention trainings to municipal water and sewer utilities and their contractors.
  • Partner with your local 811 center (one call center) to recruit local municipalities to become active members of the 811 center.
  • Encourage public works participation on local 811 center boards, regional damage prevention councils and other industry organizations.
  • Provide damage prevention educational materials to municipalities that highlight CGA Best Practices.

It’s also important to note that the type of excavator performing the work when damages occurred was overwhelmingly contractors/developers (78.78%), with municipalities and utility companies reported as the excavator just 3.68% and 6.58% of the time, respectively. This underscores how important it is for outreach to extend beyond municipalities to the contractors that they hire, and for utility companies to ensure that the contractors they work with are also committed to damage prevention best practices.

Check out upcoming Damage Prevention Download emails for more analysis of the 2021 DIRT Report. To read the full 2021 Report and to access the DIRT Dashboard, visit www.dirt.commongroundalliance.com.

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