Utility Contractor Tulsa | The Broken Utility Locating System Pt.1
This content was written for GEI Utility Construction

In today’s utility contractor Tulsa article, we are going to discuss a well-known occurrence that is known as a snowball effect, Specifically in relation to safety concerns and hazards in the construction industry. The snowball effect is in essence when a small action or a small situation metastasizes over time and eventually gains both size and momentum and turns into something much larger than the root cause. For the utility Tulsa or anywhere for that matter, the snowball effect can also play a big role in safety issues. Today we are going to discuss one such instance that happened with GEI Utility Construction on a recent job site approximately one year ago and some of the things that could’ve been done differently to have prevented the snowball effect from happening. Several factors contributed to this incident many of which could have been avoided if the proper safety precautions and procedures were followed. This is why it is extremely important for your utility contractor to have a well-documented and more importantly well practiced safety protocol and safety program in place. It can mean the difference between life and death in our industry. In this case most everyone involved in the incident was lucky and escaped with mostly minor injuries, however, the situation could’ve been much worse or if proper measures were taken much more serious.

As we talked about in previous articles the utility locating services available for contractor Tulsa and all over the state and extending throughout the nation is seriously on reliable. The typical process for underground excavation or earthmoving of any sort is as follows; the utility contractor Tulsa calls in a locate ticket at least 48 business hours in advance of commencing their work, the Okie 811 system receives that locate ticket and send notices to all Utility owners that have registered in the area that the locate ticket has been called, the owners of the utilities then make the decision whether or not the utility locate in question is in conflict with their lines, if the utility contractor Tulsa scope of work is in fact in conflict with the existing underground utility the utility owner will send their contractor a contracted utility locating company to the site to identify the line. This is how it should work.

Most of the time the contracted utility locating companies either do not show up at all show up late or show up and miss locate the utility. This is where the system has major issues. If the utility owners contracted utility locater does not positively identify the existing utilities within 24 inches of either side of the actual location and a damage occurs the responsibility to pay for the repairs and downtime falls onto the utility locating companies’ shoulders. If the utility locater has positively marked the existing utility within 24 inches and its damage occurs, the utility contractor Tulsa or company doing the excavating is responsible for the repair and downtime. The big issue with this is in the process of who determines the fault. The contracted utility locating company is the organization that also conducts the damage investigation which is essential in assigning fault to either the utility locating company or the excavating company. This is an obvious conflict of interest when the company that may be at fault and most of the time is happens to be this company who is also a signing the blame.

In our experience as a utility contractor Tulsa has counted on for nearly 40 years of dependable reliable trustworthy Utility construction services we have seen that for every 10 existing utility lines or facilities that GEI utility construction damages in the course of caring on our operations at least nine out of 10 were either not located at all or located incorrectly at least 24 inches away from the marks put on the ground. The next problem occurs when the utility owners do not pursue a damage until months if not years after the fact. It is our opinion Grp utility construction that this is done intentionally so that the utility locating companies after assigning blame to the excavating companies can be released of liability. This happens because most contractor Tulsa do not keep good records of their damages and receiving a bill 18 months from the time a telephone line or similar has been damaged most of the time results and that Utility contractor no longer having any evidence to prove that they were not in fact to blame for the damage. We have also had cases that locators who are the few good and honest utility locators have told us point-blank that they told the utility company that the line was not located and the utility owner’s representative said “Bill the contractor.” This system is very broken and needs to be addressed before someone gets hurt or even worse permanent injuries or even a fatality.

This clear and obvious conflict of interest puts utility contractor Tulsa, it’s customers, it’s employees, and the general public and direct harm and direct risk due to the utility locating company’s negligence. Lines are not located because there is no punishment when they miss locate or completely do not locate an underground existing utility. This problem occurs over and over again and on a daily basis and is something that needs to be addressed. When the same company who is in charge of the activity and fails to follow through is the same group that is responsible for assigning fault, and also happens to be the company who would be responsible for the damages and costs associated with those damages, how often do you think they would blame themselves. As time goes by and more and more utilities are present in the ground, the risk increases. Putting not only utility contractor Tulsa in danger, but utility contractors all over the United States. We at GEI utility construction sincerely hope something is done to resolve this serious issue before someone is seriously injured or worse, killed due to the negligence of the utility owners and their utility locating contractors.

Continued, See: The Broken Utility Locating System Pt. 2