Damage Prevention & Safety

Trencher maintenance tips to increase efficiency on utility jobs

With proper routine maintenance, a smooth-running, peak-performance trencher can help you efficiently trench through tough ground conditions and increase productivity by promoting valuable uptime. Here are three key tips to achieve that.

Tennessee boy swept into storm drain dies after severe weather tragedy

A 10-year-old Tennessee boy who was swept into a storm drain after severe weather two weeks ago has died, according to posts by his father on social media.

US says cyberattacks against water supplies are rising, and utilities need to do more to stop them

Cyberattacks against water utilities across the country are becoming more frequent and more severe, the Environmental Protection Agency warned Monday as it issued an enforcement alert urging water systems to take immediate actions to protect the nation’s drinking water.

Guam contractor faces $1 million fine over repeated trench safety violations, OSHA investigation reveals

Giant Construction Corp., a Tamuning contractor, is under fire with over $1 million in penalties after federal inspectors discovered trench workers exposed to fatal hazards.

OSHA restructures regional operations to improve efficiency, resiliency

The changes include the creation of a new OSHA regional office in Birmingham, Alabama, overseeing agency operations in the state, and those in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee as well as the Florida Panhandle.

Boring machine 'Chessie' resumes drilling at Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel site after anchor incident

After months of investigation and repairs, the tunnel boring machine, affectionately known as Chessie, has resumed tunneling operations after striking a buried anchor nearly 10 months ago.

Broadband installations are the leading cause of underground infrastructure damage in Minnesota, report finds

Telecommunications crews are frequently encountering electric lines and natural gas pipes underground, resulting in an average of more than 1.25 strikes per day.

Underground utility data management company Reveal launches new ground penetrating radar data analysis software

Underdots creates an intuitive, accessible point-cloud visualization from multi-channel GPR data in a matter of hours. Clustered dots plotted in 3D space show the intensity and depth of radar reflections, which can reveal the presence or absence of underground utilities in large areas,

Harnessing advanced technologies for underground engineering success

Underground construction endeavors are intricate, demanding meticulous planning, execution and risk management. With billions of dollars invested and millions impacted annually, the stakes are monumental.

Insights and trends: Latest developments in utility and communications construction

The beginning of 2024 is shaping up to be just as dynamic as we had expected going into the year. The election stage is set for November, the Federal Reserve is trying to thread the needle between fighting inflation and making the “soft landing,” and most distressing, we all witnessed a terrible tragedy in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Judge orders Pennsylvania utility to release inspection records related to fatal natural gas explosion

Pennsylvania utility regulators must turn over inspection records to the National Transportation Safety Board as part of the federal agency’s probe into a fatal explosion at a chocolate factory last year, a federal judge ruled this week.

Failure to call 811 caused nearly 1,300 underground utility damage incidents in 2023, PG&E reports

There were 1,262 incidents in Northern and Central California where homeowners or contractors damaged underground gas or electric lines while digging

Body found in western New York reservoir leads to boil-water advisory

A human body was found in a western New York reservoir that supplies drinking water to parts of Rochester, prompting city officials to advise residents to boil their water before consuming.

Judge dismisses lawsuit of injured Dakota Access pipeline protester

A federal judge in North Dakota has dismissed the excessive-force lawsuit of a New York woman who was injured in an explosion during the protests of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

One underground utility line damaged every six minutes in U.S., Dominion Energy reports for National Safe Digging Month

Citing the Common Ground Alliance, Dominion Energy reported a utility line is damaged every six minutes in the United States for National Safe Digging Month. 31% of these damages are caused by contractors and property owners who fail to contact 811 prior to breaking ground.

Over 10,000 cuts to underground natural gas, electric lines in 2023, Duke Energy reports for National Safe Digging Month

Specifically, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported over 3,500 damages to their underground natural gas facilities in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky, while Duke Energy reported more than 6,800 damages to its underground electric network in all its service territories.

Oregon OSHA fines Portland company after workers rendered unconscious in stormwater sewer

(UI) — The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has fined a Portland environmental and emergency services company $118,800 for breaching job safety standards aimed at safeguarding workers in confined spaces.

Inside infrastructure: Safety debate continues to address new, controversial subjects

Every four or five years, multiple committees in Congress undertake the responsibility of reauthorizing the nation’s pipeline safety program and the federal agency that oversees it.

OSHA, Safety Week call on construction professionals to “stand down” on May 8 to raise awareness for workplace hazards

Safety Week and OSHA are partnering to pause work sites throughout the U.S. on May 8 to create the largest industry-wide construction stand down ever held.

Sewage discharges raise concerns for Boston water safety

Local authorities have issued a public health advisory following recent sewage discharges, also known as combined sewer overflows (CSOs), posing potential risks to public health in Boston.

OSHA hits Georgia-based company with $300,000 fine after fatal trench collapse

A Georgia-based company faces a hefty fine exceeding $300,000 from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to alleged safety breaches stemming from a trench collapse incident that resulted in the death of a worker in Macon.

Radiodetection, Trimble collaborate to improve underground utility mapping accuracy

Data collected with the Radiodetection’s RD Map+ app and precision locators automatically sync with high-accuracy location measurements collected by the Trimble Catalyst DA2 GNSS system. By streamlining this connection, field workers can accurately digitize underground utility-line locations and reduce reporting errors.

OSHA penalizes Houston contractor over safety violations resulting in worker's death

A federal inquiry into safety practices following a fatal trench collapse near Fulshear, Texas, has resulted in penalties exceeding $250,000 for a Houston-area contractor.

Damage prevention and safety: Turning awareness into action

Surveys and studies reveal that professional excavators/contractors are highly aware of Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA) 811 initiative that requires they (as well as landscapers and homeowners) contact their state’s OneCall Center so underground utility lines are identified and marked before breaking ground.

September 2023 explosion in Colorado caused by underground electric cable damage

Colorado Spring Utilities said a private contractor drilled underground without following pre-dig protocols. A representative for the utility said the incident is prompting them to “re-emphasize education efforts with local contractors.”

Nevada OSHA fines Elon Musk's Boring Company over safety violations in Vegas tunnel project

Elon Musk's Boring Company incurred fines exceeding $112,000 due to safety breaches flagged by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the construction of the Vegas Loop underground tunnel last year.

Exodigo secures $118 million in funding to develop underground mapping technology

Exodigo typically locates 20-30% more utility lines than premium locators and reduces preliminary digging/drilling by up to 90%.

PCCA takes workforce development, damage prevention efforts to the States

The PCCA has fought for increased funding for rural broadband and electric power, fewer regulatory roadblocks, faster permitting, damage prevention, workforce development, and more. But in 2023 and now into the new year, PCCA is taking a more active role in the states, especially when it comes to workforce development and damage prevention.

Leaking underground propane tank found at Virginia home before deadly house explosion

When firefighters arrived at a home in a Washington, D.C., suburb to investigate a report about a gas smell Friday night, they discovered a 500-gallon underground propane tank with a leak on the side of the residence.

Hawaiian Electric's $190 million grid resilience plan approved with undergrounding initiatives

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved Hawaiian Electric's $190 million Climate Adaptation Transmission and Distribution Resilience Program application, which will help defend against the increasing threat of wildfires.