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Thread: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

  1. #1
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    The following is a "cut & paste" of an e-mail sent out to all USICers of the repercussion of a seasoned locator who got lazy and "trusted" another locator's marks. It's an interesting read and serves as a lesson to us all:

    Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    I received an update ticket for the job. I arrived onsite and all the previous marks were still visible for this job. This is where it all went wrong - I chose to ignore the proper procedure to protect a high-profile utility by not accessing the telephone manhole. With complete confidence, I re-painted another locatorís marks (this is someone I trust and respect; and I still do!). I simply RE-PAINTED the entire job!

    It's policy to use two access points on all high profile and high consequence areas.

    I had a second chance to get this locate right and I did not take it.

    I continually receive emails and have daily conference calls reminding me to stay focused and do the right thing.

    I never thought I would be a "Lessons Learned e-mail." I am now the perfect example of a lesson learned. My actions affected customers who were out of much needed service for days. All because I did not follow proper high-profile locate procedures.

    It is a horrible feeling to let my crew, district and company down. (emphasis added by Wingfoot)

    I cannot stress enough the impact you can have if you do not do the right thing at every locate.

    Do not think you are invincible and laugh this lesson off.


    There is a reason USIC has a high-profile procedure you and I are expected to follow.

    Please join me and follow all the company policies so everyone around us stays safe.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    I can't tell you how many times I felt like that........there's a reason there's a rule for everything!!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    I feel for you dude. I am blessed to work with a bunch of guys that are tenured and very good at what they do and I would be a liar if I said I hadn't done exactly the same thing . I have to admit I will rethink EVER doing that again. I hope everything works out for you.

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    TRUST no one !!!

    QUESTION everything !!!

    Find the TRUTH for yourself !!!


    Sound a bit paranoid ???

    That's what this business is.

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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    man that is bad, I hate to say it but I have done the same thing guess i wont do that any more.....I have never done that with electric but guess the phone is no different people can still die if they can't call out.....

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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    What were the circumstances of the original locate? How did the first locator mismark or overlook this conduit? There is another lesson to be learned here besides "don't re-paint somebody's marks."

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    Senior Member big boots mcghee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Of the hundreds of jobs I've stumbled upon that have been previously located by other technicians, I only found two (just TWO!) that I would consider marked correctly. Never ever trust anyone else's marks (unless they're mine....lol).

    I applaud the tech that sent out that email. Whereas most guys would've done or said whatever they could to pass blame that guy laid it out there for everyone to see that he did things wrong and it was his fault.
    My boots may be red but I'm no clown.

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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    When i have had ride a longs I always stressed not to believe another locator's marks. I have came across hard marks showing something joint trenched going across the street and found what i was locating not at those hard marks. You never know if the last guy or girl power mode or radio mode the locate or where they used their hook-up point. As to tenured tech i had taken over their area where the person before me had over 8 years in and found a lot of their marks off. Someone who is in to conspiracy theory things would wonder if the boys in their crystal tower in Carmel Indiana sent that out. Might not even be from a guy who did mark another person's marks to hopefully get that 1-10% of the guys who already do that to stop and follow procedures.

  9. #9
    Mke
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    I am guilty of doing this as well. Eventhough, Swagman taught me never to trust another locators mark, I strayed from that teaching about 2 weeks ago. I covered a job for another locator, who was not at work on a specific day. He assured me that the crew was taken care of, and wouldn't even call me. My Partner's parting words were "Don't worry about that Crew, I nailed that locate. I just freshened the paint yesterday. If they do call while i'm gone, you can just repaint my marks, its all on me." Sounds almost like a guarantee.

    I got a call, and met up with the crew chief out in the field, and he simply asked if I could freshen up the paint for them excavating in the morning. Sounds like a simple request. I'm pretty familiar with the area, and there was no difficult to locate utilities in the area, the comm and elec vaults were every 250' apart. All in all, should of been an easy locate. I seen all the paint from my partners locate still visable, but you can tell its been a couple of days. So I proceeded to Freshen up the paint.

    I got the call the next day that they found a counduit that wasn't marked. The crew was cautious enough that they didn't damage this conduit. I was thinking that it probably was a empty conduit and that it was no big deal. When I arrived, I found out that it was a 2.5kv line that was within 15' of the Electrical vault. You could of opened the vault and drew a line and been within 6" of the actual location of the conduit. If you didn't feel safe opening the vault, you could of induced and bled off on this line. It was a extremely easy line to locate, and was on all the maps.

    The danger of the situation comes from the type of electrical line it is. It is not a typical line that will flip a breaker as soon as it shorts out. Its a lighting cable that has to maintain a specific luminocity, so its 5KV line that runs about 2.5KV. If there is no ground that runs with this line. If it shorts out, it will raise the voltage till just over the 5KV limit then will flip the breaker. So this means that if some poor dumb bastard sticks a backhoe or a shovel through this and becomes an imprompt to ground for this cable, he will Fry till the breakers flip. No its not the safest system, but unfortunately its indsutry standard. Hence the importance on the missed electrical conduit.

    I showed up to the site, and seen where the conduit was, and imediately thought that it went from the vault, in a straight line to the north. I popped the Lid on the vault, and it was plain as day on the north wall. I called the partner over, and showed him the line, and he started to backtrack. How difficult the locate was, and that nothing he did produced a signal on the line. I'll skip all the boring stuff but will include his famous quote..... "It's your fault just as much as it is mine! The first thing you learn as a locator is not to trust another locators paint."

    I was dumbfounded. I told him I would never trust his paint again.

    mke

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Wow MKE, that sucks, sounds like that guy was ready to cut your throat in a second.......
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
    "America isn't free, in America you are free to follow the rules." -Anthony Cumia


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    Senior Member wet_boots101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Quote Originally Posted by big boots mcghee View Post
    Never ever trust anyone else's marks (unless they're mine....lol).
    Problem: it is possible that hard marks were right at the time they were painted, but then the facility was replaced 3ft to the side... hence, the old hard marks are not valid anymore.

    Solution: carry a can of black paint w/ you and 'X' out the incorrect hard marks. I hard marked the krap out of the 'Brook, and you don't know what our friend (that "other guy") marked right?
    "Aye, verily hath I spoken." - Thor, god of thunder

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Quote Originally Posted by wet_boots101 View Post
    Problem: it is possible that hard marks were right at the time they were painted, but then the facility was replaced 3ft to the side... hence, the old hard marks are not valid anymore.

    Solution: carry a can of black paint w/ you and 'X' out the incorrect hard marks. I hard marked the krap out of the 'Brook, and you don't know what our friend (that "other guy") marked right?


    NEVER!!! Mark out a line you've already located

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    Senior Member wet_boots101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Well duh. But I meant if you knew it was replaced, eh?
    "Aye, verily hath I spoken." - Thor, god of thunder

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confession of a "Burned" Locator

    Quote Originally Posted by wet_boots101 View Post
    Problem: it is possible that hard marks were right at the time they were painted, but then the facility was replaced 3ft to the side... hence, the old hard marks are not valid anymore.

    Solution: carry a can of black paint w/ you and 'X' out the incorrect hard marks. I hard marked the krap out of the 'Brook, and you don't know what our friend (that "other guy") marked right?
    My hard mark eraser is white paint.

    I instruct all my "helpers" to keep their paint off my sidewalks and curbs. I instruct them to use dots if they have to paint my sidewalks and curbs. I don't care what they paint in the roadways; those marks disappear quickly.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

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