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Thread: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

  1. #16
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    MKE, you summed my point up nicely, thanks.
    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 AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    Comparing S.U.E. to Contract is like (forgive me) apples to oranges.

    S.U.E. Locators ACTUALLY LOCATE. They don't color in the lines given to them by a utility who hasn't seen the benefit of up-dating their prints in 35 years because it isn't COST EFFECTIVE. This gets proven DAILY where I am. Prints being wrong = Locates being wrong. Mostly because those charged with Locating said utility don't bother even getting their equipment out to send a tone. Read a print, color in the lines.

    Do things get missed as S.U.E.? Yes they do. Do things get hit? Yes they do.
    Poor or NO prints in S.U.E. means if 'They' hit it it's THEIR PROBLEM. Unlike Contract where if it gets hit it's YOUR PROBLEM.

    S.U.E., YOU get to keep your job.
    Contract, YOU better start looking for another job.

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    Member animal's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    last time i talked to my friends about that they said poor prints or not on prints meant whoever owned payed for it not the locating company

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    Senior Member FiosKing's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    if a print is wrong the locating company does NOT get an at fault damage... that is on the utility...
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
    you have entered a restricted area

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    You guys KNOW that's not 100% of the whole story.

    If the print is wrong, the Locator doesn't bother to tone said utility but puts paint down anyway (usually due to our FAVORITE word PRODUCTION) and it gets hit the 'Blame Game' starts instantly.

    Locators fault, Contractors fault, Utility Companies fault, combination of all 3 etc. etc. etc.. In the end it doesn't matter who foots the bill, the Locator looks like an idiot for marking shit wrong in the first place (even when FOLLOWING company procedure).

    Now don't get me wrong here guys. I am using some specific information in relation to my immediate work area here in Southern NY. By NO-MEANS am I lumping everyone into the same group. I'm just stating some very very stupid practices that go on here.

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    Junior Member Linden Riddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    Well said.

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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    did i say antyhing about hooking on & marking it wrong?

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    Quote Originally Posted by AULupstate View Post
    Comparing S.U.E. to Contract is like (forgive me) apples to oranges.

    S.U.E. Locators ACTUALLY LOCATE. They don't color in the lines given to them by a utility who hasn't seen the benefit of up-dating their prints in 35 years because it isn't COST EFFECTIVE. This gets proven DAILY where I am. Prints being wrong = Locates being wrong. Mostly because those charged with Locating said utility don't bother even getting their equipment out to send a tone. Read a print, color in the lines.

    Do things get missed as S.U.E.? Yes they do. Do things get hit? Yes they do.
    Poor or NO prints in S.U.E. means if 'They' hit it it's THEIR PROBLEM. Unlike Contract where if it gets hit it's YOUR PROBLEM.

    S.U.E., YOU get to keep your job.
    Contract, YOU better start looking for another job.


    This posting is a good one to reply to so the noobies can read it. There are locating myths here, as well in the next two posts, that may to some extent be applicable to specific contracts but overall do not apply to contract locating. What I mean is there are locators doing these things and in most cases they should not be. As AULupstate pointed out there are contract locators doing this and damages are resultant.

    Noobies get exposed to a lot of misinformation both from locators in their own firm and locators they meet from other firms. There is a lot in the above posting and I will address them.

    First off no locator can just “color in the lines” based on utility print information. I have seen this done and I have seen the locators that do this lose their jobs due to excessive damages. If a print shows a utility 15 feet off the curb you cannot just run a line of paint down 15 feet off the curb unless you have first hooked up to and toned the utility and found it unlocatable. Even then this must be done in compliance with your firms procedure like as getting permission from a foreman.

    A locator cannot just look at a print, see there are no utilities present and then declare the job site clear without first going to the site and visually confirming. The exception ot this is your own companies procedures and usually clearing a ticket out without going to it, often called screening, is a clause in the locating contract. Unless given orders by the company, not what some other locators tells you because they may well be wrong, you go to the site and confirm there is no utility there.

    I have marked all utilities from various utility firm and I only worked one contract that allowed screening. Still the company set up was the office has people who screened the tickets for no utilities per the drawing. If the person in the office found utilities or was just unsure if utilities were present, the ticket was dispatched to the locators. So even in this situation the locator was required to go to the site and visually inspect.

    There is a very important reason for going to the site regardless of if the records show no utilities, money and computers.

    A good point was made that many of these drawing have not been updated. There is in general a very good reason for this. Most utility firms cover large areas and some have millions of customers. To survey the entire system every few years is cost prohibitive so that is just not going to happen. So we must consider drawing an ‘indicator’ rather than the absolute authority.


    At the risk of giving away my age I have seen these utility records go the full run. From printed drawings in large bound books to microfilm to the drawing / microfilm put onto laptop’s hard disk. In recent years there has been a change that makes going to the site even more critical, money combined with computers.

    Once the drawing started going to hard disks it was thought that instead of viewing individual drawing that at some point ended requiring bringing up the next drawing to make all the drawings boundless. That once you set the view to the area of work you could just scroll across the whole system. Not a bad idea but the problem was this type of conversion is very hands on and costs a lot of money. So the utility companies began shipping the job to cheap overseas labor, India was very popular. The result was these conversions of documents in English to digital format was being done by people for whom English was not the language they were raised speaking and reading.

    As example of such a conversion I was marking a job for a directional bore replacement of primary electric. I had marked the job but had not seen any gas marks. One day the locator that marked gas was on site doing some paper work. I asked him about his lack of gas marks and he said that all the gas was in the back yards. He showed me the computer drawings and all the gas mains and services ran through the back yards. Now this guy was one of those classroom only trained locators and had not worked in the field with an experienced locator. I knew that these houses built in this area in the 1960s’ , some of them in the 1950s, were not built with gas in the rear yard. I pointed to an intersection and showed him the gas valve inline with the curb and sidewalk. Once he toned he found the service going through the front yards to a gas main off the curb right where the new electric was to be bored in. Had that main been hit he would have been responsible because the gas valves showed the main was in the street, not behind the houses.

    Unless your supervisor tells you otherwise you must consider yourself responsible for a hit on a utility if the drawing shows it someplace else but a visual inspection would show it where it really is. Follow this procedure and you will have fewer damages and stay employed.

    There has been some discussion of which is a better job, contract locating (call before you dig locates) or private locating. Each has it’s upsides and downsides.

    While in private locating the locator and their firm may not be responsible for a damage on a miss marked utility this is still determined by the individual contract. Often private locates are survey jobs where the various utilities are marked. The company ordered the private locate so they could plan some type of construction or even structure their bid on some utility replacement / addition. On these survey jobs before the actual dig begins their will be a call before you dig ticket and the contract locator comes along and marks the various utilities so they are responsible damages due any to miss marked lines.

    Survey work looks like job security for private locate firms but contractors and the associations they belong to are lobbying legislature hard, and pouring money into this project, to take this work away from private locators. What the contractors are lobbying for is to allow their people to call in survey tickets into the call before you dig system. Their goal is to take paying for this away from them and put it onto the customers of the utility companies. Once the get survey tickets into the call before you dig system they do not have to hire a private locate firm as the utility companies have to use their contract locating firms passing the cost onto the customers. I do not know how far they have been successful but I believe they have been successful in Delaware.

    I have to agree that private locates requires a general level of competence above contract locating. Contract locating usually covers one or two utilities, sometimes more. The private locator has to mark everything plus private plant like fuel lines and whatever else is down there. Plus they seldom have any drawings of all these utilities. The demand for accurate locating is really much higher regardless of who pays for damages. If a private locate firm consistently turns in locates that are incorrectly marked they will not get hired so they have to dump a poor locator just as fast if not faster than a contract firm.

    Wither a private locating firm or a contract locating firm is better to work for is largely dependent on the needs of the locator. Private firms often require overnight or multiple day travel which for someone with a family may not be possible. Personally I keep a bag with several days of clothing and supplies with me and can cover extensive oncall. Many people just can’t do that due to family obligations. Private firms require a level of accuracy and skill beyond many locators who after 5 or 10 years have still only ever located on utility. For them the pressure to perform can be greater than they can bare and the prospect of leaving a job they are secure in for a position where they may not be able to hold the job is too much a risk.

    Which is better to work for is largely dependent on the needs of the individual

    PS. Unlike most of my other posts I made the effort to keep this reply short.

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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    Good post professional. I hope the noobies see your post and take it to heart. Years ago it was common for some guys to be parked behind some place billing out or screening clear tickets or bill them out while driving in. Most of those guys are gone due to damages. The contracts didn't have screening in it and we were required to go to every locate. I had a supervisor that hinted that I didn't have to mark everything at those invisible fence installs and harped on me about my production. I hinted back I wanted in writing, because I knew when it came to be called into the office for a damage I knew the supervisor wasn't going to back me. Also noobies if a supervisor tells you something on a ticket make sure you document it in your notes. For the noobies another little nugget, the contractors will be your friends until a damage and somebody is going to have to pay for it.



    On prints, as some companies drill it into the noobies head, PRINTS ARE ONLY A GUIDE. Years ago when housing was booming it was not uncommon of the utilities to be years behind in updating their prints. I saved all my as built prints. I was even showed a repair crew that the primary they were trying to repair what transformers to go to isolate it. On most of the damages I have heard where the locator didn't locate because the print didn't say anything was there. The management in most cases will come back that prints are only a guide and the locator should of hooked up and verified the print was correct. I have come across to many prints that either are wrong or misleading. I had a locate where another locator had been to and cleared for a couple of utilities. The prints were misleading and while locating the electric i noticed peds in the rear and picked up other than electric. I located the other two utilities that were present besides electric.

  10. #25
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    Quote Originally Posted by paintitnow View Post
    Good post professional. I hope the noobies see your post and take it to heart. Years ago it was common for some guys to be parked behind some place billing out or screening clear tickets or bill them out while driving in. Most of those guys are gone due to damages. The contracts didn't have screening in it and we were required to go to every locate. I had a supervisor that hinted that I didn't have to mark everything at those invisible fence installs and harped on me about my production. I hinted back I wanted in writing, because I knew when it came to be called into the office for a damage I knew the supervisor wasn't going to back me. Also noobies if a supervisor tells you something on a ticket make sure you document it in your notes. For the noobies another little nugget, the contractors will be your friends until a damage and somebody is going to have to pay for it.



    On prints, as some companies drill it into the noobies head, PRINTS ARE ONLY A GUIDE. Years ago when housing was booming it was not uncommon of the utilities to be years behind in updating their prints. I saved all my as built prints. I was even showed a repair crew that the primary they were trying to repair what transformers to go to isolate it. On most of the damages I have heard where the locator didn't locate because the print didn't say anything was there. The management in most cases will come back that prints are only a guide and the locator should of hooked up and verified the print was correct. I have come across to many prints that either are wrong or misleading. I had a locate where another locator had been to and cleared for a couple of utilities. The prints were misleading and while locating the electric i noticed peds in the rear and picked up other than electric. I located the other two utilities that were present besides electric.
    I think we are all noobies, just to different degrees. There will be many people who read here who have been locating one or two years and those who have been locating five or more years will consider them still a noobie. I have worked on and off in the utility industry and the first cable I located with locating equipment was with the help of paper prints. Laptops? We did not even have desktop PCs as these only existed in science fiction novels. Our locate equipment was the most rudimentary compared to what is available to today. Our witching rods required real witches to operate them. (okay, joking there)

    After a total of over 23 years experience in the utility industry I can still miss a utility and what is more I can still learn something if not every day quite often. In this business when you stop learning you may as well quit as you can expect to damage out.

    I have also been pushed to higher productivity even when I was in the top production bracket. One thing one has to do is learn to ignore those proddings as your productivity increases as you get better at the job. Besides, push yourself beyond your capabilities and you will damage out.

    As for invisible fence tickets or other jobs where the dig is supposed to be so shallow nothing can get hit. If you do not mark them it is a matter of time before you damage out. If not that the client will audit tickets and ask your boss why they are being charged for work not done. Charging for work not performed is fraud and at the contract locate level a felony. So your boss will tell them they came across an individual who was cheating both the company and the client and then you can expect to be fired.

    Another thing about shallow digs. The dig for some reason may go deeper which is the contractor's prerogative. Also you never know how deep the utilities really are until you at least read their depth with your locate equipment and that depth indicator is not reliable. When utilities are installed it is usually at some point in the construction process. The utilities are put in after the rough grade to the site. Usually there is a final grading of the site after the utilities are installed and they can still be a the same depth, they can be deeper or they can be more shallow. I have found gas, phone, electric and TV mains only an inch or so deep. After one final grade I tripped over the tracer wire of a two inch gas main. No matter how shallow the dig the site must be marked.

    Finally if you do not care about losing your job think about losing your freedom, home, car, family and everything else in your life. Look up the legal term Depraved Indifference. Depraved Indifference means that one must look after the well being of those in their care. A babysitter may not sit by and watch a child choke to death without trying to help in some way. If a locator refuses to mark a gas or electric line and a person(s) is killed digging into it Depraved Indifference applies. Since the locator knows the danger such a utility presents, knows those marks are needed to protect human life they know their refusal to perform their job can kill. A person dies as a result then the locator can be charged with anything from manslaughter to some level of homicide. Next time somebody reading this thinks of "getting their production up" by not marking a critical utility think of the possibility of spending 3 to 7 or more years in prison. It is all just a matter of if a local prosecutor feels like coming after you.

  11. #26
    Mke
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    uhhh.... A couple of things. I worked for a firm performing private utility locates for 6 yrs, and to generalize us in doing survey work is borderline insulting. Myself, and others here who do preform private locates can validate the fact that while some work was survey, the majority of work I preformed was for construction projects. It has got to the point, here in the pacific northwest that any major construction project will have a contract for private locates to come in, and to locate, as well as verify utility owned lines.

    Second of all, I know survey work has recieved a negative reputation because " no one is going to dig on it". I have personally seen public one-call locators ignore Survey tickets. (Survey tickets are due in 10 days, not 48hrs). I mark locate jobs like someone is going to dig on them, because I know eventually someone will.

    I don't want this to become a pissing match, but there is people in this field that want the paycheck, and not the work. unfortunately, most of those attitudes are in public locating. These attitudes last very shortly in the private side. They can still arise on the private side..... I work with one, but since we are talking in generalities, i'll take a private locator of a public one anyday. no offense to those of you out there, i'm just going with the percentages.

    mke

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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    are there less private locators than contract locators?

  13. #28
    Mke
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    si senor

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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    then don't you think there would be more problems percentage wise with contract locators than private locators because there are just more of them?
    i can say i did both but there was not enough work for private locating in my area

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    Mke
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    Default Re: ESCM- A Company You Don't Want To Work For

    I see where your going with that, but we are not arguing about total #'s because there is such a large gap between how many Public locators there are, and how many private locators there are. ( I know I shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition)

    I believe we are refering to ammount of Crap each of them have to wade through.

    Private Locators still have to put the muck boots on, but the Public locators have to put the chest high waders.

    Both sides have to put up with retarded contractors who are just looking for a company to blame impending damages on. Both sides are going to tend with long hours. ( the difference here is public guys will work all day and aim for their production goal of 20+ tickets, where as a private locator will have maybe one full day job, or 5 smaller jobs.

    The biggest difference between locators is the fact that we try to locate everything. Our main goal is for there to be no "surprises". Usually private locating companies are owned and opporated by Ex-locators which help limit the overwhelming a$$ache locating in general gives to you.

    mke

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