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Thread: Certification thoughts

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Certification thoughts

    I know there is another thread on Locator Certification so I am not trying to rehash another thread... kinda.

    What is the latest status on locator cert. becoming mandatory?

    What if any impact will this make on the industry?

    I told a fellow locator recently that I thought certification would benefit the private locator. But after thinking about it I really can't say why I believe that to be true. Just a gut feeling I guess.

    Any thoughts?
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    for things like gas/electrical locates.. Id think it should be a requirement.. the possible outcomes of a bad job could be tragic. On the other hand.. a guy could do the best job locating and if the digger doesnt pay attention/etc.. same final outcome. Perhaps there should be some cert to allow work within x feet (meters) of indicated utilities.
    (May you live in interesting times)

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    I'm really surprised at some of you - wanting more government intrusion into to our lives. I believe we would live to regret any type of gov't 'certification' because more than likely, the certification process would be written, implemented, taught and controlled by people that never located anything for anyone.
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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    Here in NY we HAVE to get 'certified' to locate gas by the North Eastern Gas Association ( NEGA ). It's nothing major to get, a 40 to 50 question written test and a demonstration on proper locating technique with a magnet board in front of one of their reps. The paper work stays with them. I'm not exactly sure what it's worth but it is here in the North East.

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I know there is another thread on Locator Certification so I am not trying to rehash another thread... kinda.

    What is the latest status on locator cert. becoming mandatory?

    What if any impact will this make on the industry?

    I told a fellow locator recently that I thought certification would benefit the private locator. But after thinking about it I really can't say why I believe that to be true. Just a gut feeling I guess.

    Any thoughts?
    Whats your angle on this this topic???

    In most cases theres some $ associated when you go after a topic...

    Come clean on it...

    I can see you getting certified to certify others and ordering one of those notary impression makers for locators...

    Last edited by USIC1; December 14th, 2008 at 06:34 PM.

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    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    'notary impression makers' ?

    No.. you just get a tattoo dot on the forehead of whatever util colour you're certified for.
    (May you live in interesting times)

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    i 'm not for sure if it would help one way or the other....i like the idea but i think the world of locating is way past our good ideas...and most would say we ain't paying no more than what we're putting out now....??? my opinion
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member beyond help's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    Anyone who locates or does any kind of work on gas must have a certification (green card) to show they can mark gas. I think it was AUL who mentioned the 40 - 50 question test, plus a 4 phase field test, and last but not least a whiz quiz. These certifications are good for 1-7 years depending on the certification, and all written tests must be kept on file with the gas company as well. Any gas or OSHA worker can ask us for our documentation, which includes the green card, and the 30 page gas staking booklet that all gas companies must abide by with the federal gov't. I have only been asked for mine 1 time. This was at a damage involving a rather large line.
    These are already federally mandated, and you MUST PASS THEM ALL. Electric is supposedly going to be next. I heard this should come to fruition sometime in the next few years.
    STRESS: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some idiot who desperately deserves it.

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    Senior Member gypsygirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by AULupstate View Post
    Here in NY we HAVE to get 'certified' to locate gas by the North Eastern Gas Association ( NEGA ). It's nothing major to get, a 40 to 50 question written test and a demonstration on proper locating technique with a magnet board in front of one of their reps. The paper work stays with them. I'm not exactly sure what it's worth but it is here in the North East.
    I believe that is the Operator's Qualification testing... it is required by law for anyone locating gas.

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    That certification for gas is mandated (at least in CO) by DOT. Here, though, each locating company comes up with thier own standard and test. Ours is only a 20 or so question test, that anyone who has located for more than 2 days can pass.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    So.... Does getting certified take any of the liability off of the locators shoulders?
    In other words the certification to locate gas is only for the gas company to cover their dairy air. "Its not our fault, all of our locators are certified"

    Yes, I am a owner of several certifications....and none of which made me a better locator.

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    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    OK, here is the issue, at least part of it...

    Three states already have some type of certification requirement, they are California, Georgia and Wyoming, with others looking to follow suit.

    California's is not called a "certification" but rather a "qualification assurance". It is administered through CalOSHA and must be passed in order to be a locator on any underground facility.

    Georgia has a certification program that is administered through the Georgia Utilities Coordination Committee (GUCC) the state-wide group comprised of underground facility owners and the GUPC. This certification applies specifically to state highway jobs. Highway contractors are required to have a certified locator on staff or under contract, to locate all facilities within the project limits. The One Call Center specifically routes these tickets to the highway contractor instead of the facility owner or their contracted locate firm.

    Wyoming has just started their program. The certification will require attendance of a class at Casper College followed by a 3-year "internship" before the certification is issued. It covers all types of underground facilities.

    Several of you have already mentioned the Gas Operator Qualification requirement or certification. This is Federally Mandated by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapter 49, subsection 119. This requires all persons locating or working with underground gas or petroleum facilities to be certified and pass mandatory drug testing (both pre-employment and unannounced random testing).

    Other states are investigating various "certification" initiatives. There is potentially a big problem with this...

    We could potentially end up with 50 differing qualification / certification requirements with no clear continuity between any of them. This is especially problematic for companies that operate in several states, for instance; Let's say you have operations from Texas to Wyoming and suddenly your Wyoming guys get slammed with tickets from a FTTP build out. You want to bring in staff from Texas and Montana to help the Wyoming guys get over the hump, but you can't, they are not certified by Wyoming...what do you do?

    We have held round tables to discuss this very issue. Our defacto industry group is NULCA (National Utility Locating Contractors Association). They have done nothing to address the issue. In fact, at the last round table, they sent reps who stated that they were against anything but their own in-house "certification" programs at each individual company. While this may be fine, it does not address the issue and does not prevent all 50 states from developing their own individual requirement. We work in eleven (11) different states, imagine having to track and coordinate certifications for locators in 11 different states. Imagine having to have many or all of your locators certified in 11 different states....crazy.

    There is much more to come on this issue. The upcoming CGA Conference in Orlando, FL (Feb. 2009) has a scheduled round table discussion on this issue.

    Stay tuned.

  13. #13
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    GWJ-CAS

    And it is no different up here. Our firm operates in three provinces with differing locate requirements in each.


    Everyone I think already knows where I stand on this issue. There needs to be one federal body that sets regulation, indusrty standards and training. There is nothing wrong with recognizing this industry as a legitimate trade and setting training standards to meet them.

    Every legitimate plumber, carpenter, steel worker, electrician, bricklayer, etc. has to meet apprenticeship standards and pass federal or state standards in order to become a journeyman.

    As in the case of every other trade, learning is done on the job with (at least in Alberta) 6 weeks of schooling completed at a technical college and must be passed before you can move on to 2, 3, 4th year and journeyman status.

    The government infrastructure for this likely already exists and as far as I can determine it is only the industry itself that is resisting the change.

    I have long stated that locate firms must know what the locator knows and MORE IMPORTANTLY, what the locator does NOT know. That is only found out by meaningful training that has been field tested and tested for knowledge retained as well, meaningful audits, mentoring and accurate and fair record keeping. These various forms of upgrading require a formal record I call a competency profile. That way everyone knows with certainty what the REAL knowledge and SKILL set of the individual truly is. If it is lacking, supplement it. Additionally, some industries require constant upgrading earning a certain number of credits per year to retain your certification/license.

    With the company I work for, I am trying to get them to put the training package they offer on to our computer program and to have them require reviewing and testing at the individuals leisure.

    I know the howls will come out about this, but, a friend of mine is a certified Accountant, owns his own firm as has to take tons of extra courses a year. He works 80 hour weeks about 50 weeks per year.

    And, after everything is said and done, is that not the real objective...having competent, skilled locators?

    JMHO
    Success is a journey, not a destination...

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    What about the apwa(American Public Works Assoc.) after all they established the utility color codes, or so the site says. They already have a recommended marking standard, which is not an industry wide standard.

    About two years ago, our big wigs decided they were going to bring in some experts, who claimed to be THE authority on locating. The "instructor" kept saying "you can't do that". An hour later, after going out to our testing grounds he had nothing left to say.

    Last we heard of that.

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Certification thoughts

    Watch out there CAS with this 'certification' talk. John might get mad at you and plaster your name again (you know where)!

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