Root Cause Tips

The purpose of these Root Cause Tips is to help you determine the proper root cause when submitting your damage report. It is based on the Common Ground Alliance's Best Practices and is adapted from the CGA's website. The below root causes do not necessarily mean there was a violation of Florida law.

Operator Issues

Facility Was Not Located or Marked 
No locating or marking was completed prior to excavation activities.
Example: The utility company received a valid ticket, but did not mark, locate, or communicate with excavator prior to start of work.

Facility Marking or Location Not Sufficient
Includes all areas where marking was insufficient.
Example: Locator marked the work zone, but missed a service.
Example: Locator misread the ticket and did not locate the entire work zone. Facility was outside the tolerance zone.

Facility Could Not be Found/Located
Type of facility, depth, or lack of records prevented locating of facility.
Example: Plastic pipelines installed without tracer wires. HDD installed facilities at depths that cannot be located.

Abandoned Facility
This damage was caused by an abandoned facility issue.
Example: The abandoned facility may have been located, instead of the active facility.
Example: An abandoned facility may have been located, but it may have been found active after the excavation exposed the facility or damaged it.

Incorrect Facility Records/Maps
Incorrect facility records or maps led to an incorrect locate. (This does not include facilities missing from maps.)
Example: Records show the facility located on the wrong side of the street, and ticket was cleared.

Deteriorated Facility
Those situations in which an excavation disrupts the soil around the facility resulting in damage, failure or interruption of service. However, the deterioration and not the excavation caused the facility damage.
Example: An excavator reports a gas odor, but investigation proves it is coming from an old cast iron pipeline.

Previous Damage
A significant period of time has passed from the actual damage to the failure or discovery of the damages.
Example: Pipe coating was damaged during a previous excavation and was not reported. Subsequently, a corrosion leak occurred.


Excavator Issues

No Notification Made to Sunshine 811
Excavator did not call 811, includes occasions when notification was not required.

Failure to Maintain Clearances While Using Power Equipment
Damage occurred because the excavator did not use a spotter (excavator supervision) when mechanized equipment was used in the tolerance zone.*

Failure to Maintain Marks
Damage occurred due to marks being deteriorated or lost and the excavator failed to request that they be restored/refreshed.

Failure to Support Exposed Facilities
Damage was due to lack of support in accordance with generally accepted engineering practices or instructions provided by the facility operator.

Failure to Use Hand Tools
Damage was due to failure to use hand tools where required.**

Failure to Verify Facility by Test Hole
Facility damaged because the excavator did not verify the exact location of the buried lines with a test hole.*

Improper Backfilling
Damage caused by improper materials (ex: large/sharp rocks) in the backfill or improper compaction
of the backfill.

Wrong Information Provided
This damage occurred because an excavator provided an incorrect locate description or excavation location to Sunshine 811, or there was a miscommunication between stakeholders.
Example: Excavator used Internet Ticket Entry to notify utilities and provided an incorrect address for the dig site. After speaking with excavator, the locator realized he incorrectly cleared the ticket for that dig site.

Notification to Sunshine 811 Made, But Not Sufficient
The excavator contacted Sunshine 811, but did not provide sufficient information, or the excavator did not allow two full business days for member response (10 days when dig site is underwater).
Example: Excavator did not wait two full business days before digging.
Example: Excavator was excavating on an expired ticket.

Sunshine 811 Issues

One-Call Center Notification Error
Includes all issues related to Sunshine 811 such as data incorrectly entered by a call center customer service representative, ticket transmission failures, and stakeholder omissions, et al.
Example: Sunshine 811 experienced a service interruption and failed to deliver the ticket.

* s.556.105(5), Florida Statutes: When excavation is to take place within a tolerance zone, an excavator shall use increased caution to protect underground facilities. The protection requires hand digging, pot holing, solft digging, vacuum excavation methods, or other similar procedures to identify underground facilities. Any use of mechanized equipment within the tolerance zone must be supervised by the excavator.


** s. 556.108(5)(a), F.S.: Any excavation with hand tools by a member operator or an agent of a member operator for:

Locating, repairing, connecting, or protecting, or routing maintenance of, the member operator's underground facilities; or
The extension of a member operator's underground facilities onto the property of a person to be served by such facilities.

(b) The exemption in this subsection is limited to excavations to a depth of 30 inches if the right-of-way has permanently marked facilities of a company other than the member operator or its agents performing excavation.