How much does it cost when a buried cable or pipeline is struck during a ground disturbance activity?

On average, the societal cost is $100,000 per event.

According to the 2015 DIRT (Damage Information Reporting Tool) report, this average is based on over 4,500 damage events reported across the three western provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC) at an estimated societal direct cost of up to $525 Million.

When are most strikes reported?

Most damage events occur in the summer months from July through October. Now is the time to ensure that your employees are appropriately trained. Making sure that all employees are aware of the potential hazards of a ground disturbance at any depth can save you time, money, and effort.

2014-2015 Dirt Report Events

2014-2015 Events (per the 2015 DIRT Report)

What can you do?
Appropriate training for all employees that work in and around ground disturbance projects is the critical first step towards damage prevention. The Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA) has developed training best practices, which are based on industry input and on the DIRT report findings. The standard’s purpose is to improve education in order to prevent and mitigate damage events. One key best practice noted in the standard is the concept of “zero depth”. It recommends that whenever the ground surface is broken, regardless of the depth (“zero depth”), controls must be implemented to prevent damage.

Zero depth, along with other ground disturbance best practices, have been consolidated into the ABCGA Ground Disturbance for Supervisor’s standard (known in the past as Level 2, and now known as 201). This standard defines the training requirements supervisors need in order to promote effective ground disturbance practices and damage prevention. The ABCGA Endorsement of a Ground Disturbance for Supervisors training course provides peace of mind for employers, purchasers of ground disturbance services, and operators of buried facilities. The ground disturbance community can be confident that certificate holders have received consistent and accurate information that meets the industry-approved standard.

What is DIRT?
The Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) is the result of the efforts of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to gather meaningful data about buried asset damage events. An event is defined as “the occurrence of downtime, damages, and near misses.” DIRT allows industry stakeholders to submit data anonymously to a comprehensive database that is used to analyze the factors leading to events. The Western Canada 2015 DIRT Report provides detailed analyses and recommendations relating to the buried asset damage events reported in British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), and Saskatchewan (SK).

Next Steps for Employers
1. Ensure that you have a ground disturbance code of practice
2. Ensure that your employees receive the appropriate training
3. Ensure that you submit a locate request and have all buried facilities marked prior to beginning any ground disturbance project (zero depth is a best practice)
4. In the unfortunate event that you do damage, or nearly damage, a buried pipe or cable, complete an anonymous DIRT report so that we, as an industry, can create better safety practices for the future

About SafetyVantage

The SafetyVantage founders have been members of the ABCGA (previously Alberta Damage Prevention Council) for over 9 years. Throughout our involvement, we have been strong proponents of, and active participants in, the development of an online course standard for the industry. With a continuously changing industry, companies must look at new and innovative ways to cut costs and improve employee empowerment and engagement. Online training enables companies to significantly lower costs per trainee, provide ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to content, results in better content retention, and eases the deployment of training to a large workforce.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: SafetyVantage provides information about topical OH&S issues to assist existing and potential customers to cope with their own OH&S needs. SafetyVantage believes that the information and guidelines provided are consistent with industry practices at the time the information was compiled. It is not intended to be legal information or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your situation