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.