News

Survey reveals communication among stakeholders as main block to 811 Process

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Sunshine 811 is pleased to present the findings of its 2019 Effectiveness Survey, conducted to measure stakeholder satisfaction with the current state of the 811 process, identify where improvements could be made and develop potential solutions. This was conducted with the help of the National Utility Contractor’s Association of Florida and Florida’s contractors.

After studying the results, Sunshine 811 narrowed down the overall issue to communications breakdowns at multiple points in the 811 process. Sunshine 811 believes that effective communication is the heart of all productive work. Based on our observations, we developed the following recommendations for better understanding and greater communication throughout the process.

Recommendations for Excavators and Member Operators on Working Together

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  1. Acknowledge that the 811 process is a shared responsibility. Everyone working together helps prevent damage and protect workers.

  2. Provide current contact information for key operating personnel. Then, commit to share information cooperatively throughout the 811 process.

  3. Make sure that underground facilities are located and marked before and during excavation to prevent underground facility damage and harm to workers and the public.

Recommendations for Excavators

New Ticket

  1. The ticket should cover only the area where digging will start within 30 days.

  2. Provide a clear and accurate locate description of where digging will take place within the job site. White lining can lessen any misunderstanding of the locate description.

  3. Provide a valid field contact (not an office contact) who will answer the phone or who has a working voice mail that is checked. Interestingly, no call backs and full voice mail were the two biggest reasons why locators could not reach excavators.

  4. Only request emergency tickets for emergency situations – when there is a break or defect in an underground facility that presents clear and present danger to life or property, leaks a substance, interrupts a vital public service or communication, or disrupts traffic.

  5. Use the positive response system to notify the pipeline operator of the day and time that your excavation will begin when you receive Positive Response Code 2C – High Priority Underground Facility in Conflict.

Ticket Renewals

Renew a ticket for the next 30 days; BUT, revise the locate description to include only the unfinished area where locates are required, deleting any area where excavation is finished.

Recommendations for Member Operators

  1. Determine whether underground facilities are at the dig site. Respond accordingly to the Positive Response System with a code that accurately documents the underground facility presence at the dig site. This must be done within two full business days for normal tickets and 10 days for underwater tickets by:

  • Locating and marking the location of underground facilities conflicting with proposed excavation; or,

  • Clearing the ticket when the facility does not conflict with the proposed excavation; or,

  • Documenting that a mutual agreement was reached with the excavator when using positive response codes 3F – Marking Delay Requested and Agreed to; and 8 – Ongoing Job; or,

  • Using the remaining positive response codes accurately and correctly for all other situations.

Get the whole Positive Response Summary using a mobile device

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Sunshine 811 introduces Xtreme Access for the Positive Response System. It was developed after excavators expressed concern over the limited amount of information non-Internet Ticket Entry users could access in the field. Hurricane recovery left many of them making extra calls to supervisors for contact information and maps.

Using the Sunshine 811 app, excavators use Xtreme Access to view all tickets for his or her registered company, full ticket text and the system map.

Xtreme access features

  • Access positive response summary with ticket number only.

  • View all tickets for your company.

  • If you don’t know the ticket number to open the positive response summary, do a ticket search based on one or a combination of the date, address, county, creation date or status. The system will then search through all tickets for your company.

  • View the full positive response summary including the codes and code descriptions.

  • View the ticket text including member’s code, name and contact information.

  • View the map.

  • Access emergency contact by county.

It requires login ID

To get Xtreme Access for Positive Response, complete the form. The Member Services Department will send you an email with your login ID and notify you when the set up and registration is complete.

Note: Use of PR Xtreme gives you access to the Positive Response System and associated ticket information. It does not let you enter tickets using Internet Ticket Entry. To use ITE, you must complete the application and online training., former damage prevention manager for Sunshine 811.

Nominations now being accepted for Locator Excellence Award

Communication. Understanding. Respect. Trust. These are the qualities demonstrated by past Locator Excellence Award winners. Preventing damage to buried facilities is a responsibility shared by everyone involved. And those four qualities are key to a successful process. Whether you're an excavator or utility, nominate a locator who demonstrates these qualities for the Locator Excellence Award!

U.S. DOT Announces Final Rule to Enhance Public Safety by Expanding Natural Gas Transportation in Plastic Pipelines

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced the issuance of a Final Rule that amends the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations for plastic piping systems used in the transportation of natural or other gas. The updates in the final rule are intended to improve safety, allow for the expanded use of plastic pipe products in the transportation of natural or other gas, and allow or require the use of certain materials and practices.

Reaching the right person at right time could save life of contractor digging near your facilities

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Sunshine 811 recently completed a series of emails to its member facility owners to update their contact information. This is something we do each year, but it’s becoming a critical part of our daily operation as some ignore our plea.

We consistently hear from excavators that the phone numbers are incorrect or out of service. And during hurricane season, members rely on this information to coordinate storm recovery efforts with other members.

“Our member service representatives update contact information on a daily basis,” Sunshine 811 Technical Operations Manager Bill Heath explains. “Whenever we discover an outdated contact, we work to find the correct information.”

Updating contact information is a simple action to help each member comply with, § 556.112, Fla. Stat., which requires all Sunshine 811 members to update their design services information annually.

“Although excavators must notify 811 and wait the required time before digging,” Sunshine 811 Executive Director Mark Sweet explains, “they may have questions about your response to their locate request. To help protect your underground facilities from accidental damage, it is essential that all members provide Sunshine 811 with accurate and current contact information to facilitate direct communications with excavators who will be digging near your facilities”

Members

Below are the 11 contacts types within Sunshine 811’s system. If you are a member and have not updated any of the contact information listed below, please contact our Member Services Department at (800) 651-6720 or email them at memberservices@sunshine811.com.

Excavators & Others

If you’re an excavator, locator or other stakeholder and cannot reach a member using the contact information on your ticket or in the emergency phone book, please complete the quick form by clicking on SUBMIT INCORRECT MEMBER CONTACT INFORMATION below. Member Services will use your information to begin getting the updated contact information.

Reaching the right person at the right time could help save the life of a contractor digging near your buried facilities.

Contact Types

  1. Emergency Contact: The emergency contact is the person listed on emergency tickets and included on the emergency contact list. This number should be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  2. Alternate Contact: The alternate contact receiving location is where locate tickets are sent when your primary receiving equipment is not working properly.

  3. After Hours Contact: The after-hours contact is someone who can be contacted outside of your organization's normal business hours.

  4. Billing Contact: The billing contact is the person or department to receive the monthly invoice and annual assessment letters.

    If you are currently receiving paper invoices and would like to receive them electronically, email memberservices@sunshine811.com your member code and the email address or addresses where you would like us to send your invoices.

  5. Board Representative: The board representative contact is the person authorized to vote on your organization's behalf at Sunshine 811 membership meetings.

  6. Catastrophic Contact: The catastrophic contact is someone who is contacted before, during and after a storm, natural disaster or other catastrophic event. This contact is included in our emergency contact list.

  7. Damage Contact: The damage contact is the person primarily responsible for submitting damages as required by § 556.102 (12)(a), F.S. This person is also responsible for maintaining user accounts in the Florida DIRT System.

  8. Database Contact: Person or department responsible for setting up and maintaining your company’s service area registration. This may include manually drawing your service area on the maps in our system, or it may be the person responsible for uploading shape files and approving their release into production.

  9. Engineering Contact: The engineering contact is the person or department responsible for design requests as required by § 556.112, F.S.

  10. Receiving Location Contact: The receiving location contact is a person or department that monitors and receives locate tickets from Sunshine 811. This person is also contacted with ticket delivery issues. This is also the default contact provided to excavators requesting member contact information.

  11. Temporary Type Contact: The temporary type contact has access to a limited set of permissions at online811.com including entering positive response information for a ticket. This contact is not typically contacted for receiving or database-related issues.

2018 BOARD ELECTIONS

Sunshine 811 held its annual elections at the 2018 Annual Meeting, May 17, 2018 in DeBary. Re-elected to the board for fiscal year 2018-2019 are: Carlos Bates, Frontier Communications; Dino Farruggio, AT&T; Lisa Jackson, Hillsborough County Public Utilities; Michelle Johnson, Duke Energy; Lorenzo Jones, TECO; and Pedro Vigil, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer.

Damage prevention stakeholders request legislative enforcement study - recommendations

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Sunshine 811 and industry stakeholders including the Florida Natural Gas Association, TECO Peoples Gas, AT&T, Florida Internet and Television, the National Utility Contractors Association of Florida, and the Florida Energy Pipeline Association, have asked the Legislature to conduct a study of Florida’s damage prevention law enforcement program with recommendations for future legislation as appropriate.

This request follows annual determinations made by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation, that the State of Florida's enforcement of its excavation damage prevention law is INADEQUATE.

PHMSA’s determinations, made initially for 2016 and again for 2017, have opened the door for federal enforcement action to be taken against excavators that violate federal one-call law and damage PHMSA-regulated pipelines with fines of up to $205,648 per violation per day with a maximum civil penalty of $2,056,380 for a related series of violations.

Purpose of Legislature Study

  • Identify options and future legislation needed to bring the State of Florida in line with federal enforcement standards;
  • Increase compliance with Florida’s one-call law; and
  • Reduce excavation damages to underground facilities through more effective enforcement of Chapter 556, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Florida Statutes.

A copy of the May 11, 2018 letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House is provided below.