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YDance with Who You Brung By Joe Igel
ears ago, a friend of ours incidents. We have brought excavators would often invite us to nice to the dance, but are we dancing with functions, dinners, and the them? I think that we can do better.
like. We would go, he would
greet us at a point during the event and As I participate in the enforcement over liability or brainstorming ideas
then would disappear into the crowds, shaking hands, making small talk.
We would never encounter him again. Eventually, we stopped going since one of the reasons we went was to visit with him and that was not happening.
811 seems to be everywhere. Sporting events, utility invoices, and billboards are only a part of the proliferation of the message and that is a wonderful thing. The number of people and businesses aware of their obligation to request a locate seems to be increasing and the number of those who can claim ignorance seems to be decreasing.
Yet, there is a genuine lack of understanding of so many other factors and insufficient education to achieve the same success mentioned above. This will ultimately prevent progress in decreasing the number of overall
of dig laws in the State of Ohio, I for legislation. And often, there is an
witness an increasing number of issues involving depth of installation. I doubt that there are any excavators that would not advocate for utility installations being buried at a specified elevation, especially high voltage electric, medium and high-pressure gas, and fiber
optic. However, that is not the world we live in. Lines buried to a depth at installation are about as close as we come. Since the utilities lose control
of the site after installation and then erosion, subsequent excavation, and other activities change that cover, any guarantees go out the window. A 2019 Common Ground Alliance White paper suggests that at least 23 percent of damages and near misses are a result of the belief that digging was “not deep enough to warrant marking” or the utility “was shallow”.
unwillingness to even acknowledge the problem. So, excavators continue to assume, albeit incorrectly, that they can anticipate a specific depth when they are excavating.
There are many other issues resulting in damage. But the message is not getting out there in a constructive
way. The message to call before you
dig has worked and it should not be abandoned. It is time to take that delivery methodology to other factors, confronting them head-on in an altruistic manner. Let us make sure that these issues and these parties are on our dance card.
Mr. Igel retired as vice president of the George J. Igel & Co., Inc. after working there for more than 35 years.
The problem is a real one. Yet in my experience, the only time that this issue is discussed is during discussions
  2023, Issue 4 Alabama 811 • 13

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