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Thread: Evolution/Revolution

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Default Evolution/Revolution

    So I'm a few beers deep and feel like this is the only place that I can post. I've been locating for the last 4 years in Oregon, at one point I switched to the dark side and went to work for a contractor, North Sky Communications. Came back to Locating Inc (Utiliquest/Dycom), now I'm the Lead Tech in my area. I was informed today that the State Utility Council was choosing to audit the locators contracted by the gas company and I was selected as the local sacrifical lamb for my area. I'm torn personally, between being honest with everyone in earshot that contract locating is the worst thing possible for public safety vs keeping my job. I personally feel that either the utility companies pull the work in house with the proper pay and training, or the state steps in with a certification program. I don't know how other states do it, but anyone with a drivers license can be a locator here, its appalling and I say that as someone who started in this industry with no experience. My training consisted of one week of Powerpoint and a hook up to a nearby gas meter, after which the trainer took the Metro tech 810 from my hand, crossed himself, and said "You are now a Locator my son." I shit you not. The next day was 30 tickets in a town I had never been to. Point of the story is, what do you salty bastards think? Is the future of locating to stay the way it is, or will the government get involved? I personally think someone will get killed here in my state due to a bad locate and the whole rotten house of cards that is contract locating will come down.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member CableAvoidanceTool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Evolution/Revolution

    I was very surprised to learn that Oregon was actually going to start auditing locators... I've not heard of this type of thing happening before. I mean, where the government actually does audits on locates.

    Will they be following you around and double checking your marks, and that you understand the scope of the locate? Or are they actually riding with you and watching you do all the locating? How weird to be watched by the government, Yikes.

    You hit the nail on the head that this contract locating industry is basically just public safety for profit. A recipe for disaster. I argued a long time ago that it should be illegal to contract this type of work out, kind of like state troopers are regarded. A public safety figure.

    Your idea of a state certification program is interesting... I wonder exactly how it would bring improvements to the quality of life for a utility locator? Perhaps raises?

    I can offer something pretty unusual I heard recently. That the gas company around Providence, Rhode Island and surrounding areas was only allowed to contract out their gas locating OUTSIDE OF they city limits of Providence, but not inside the city. For all locates inside the city, they were required by law to do it themselves, in-house.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Evolution/Revolution

    The state government of Virginia audits locators.

    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    I was very surprised to learn that Oregon was actually going to start auditing locators... I've not heard of this type of thing happening before. I mean, where the government actually does audits on locates.

    Will they be following you around and double checking your marks, and that you understand the scope of the locate? Or are they actually riding with you and watching you do all the locating? How weird to be watched by the government, Yikes.

    You hit the nail on the head that this contract locating industry is basically just public safety for profit. A recipe for disaster. I argued a long time ago that it should be illegal to contract this type of work out, kind of like state troopers are regarded. A public safety figure.

    Your idea of a state certification program is interesting... I wonder exactly how it would bring improvements to the quality of life for a utility locator? Perhaps raises?

    I can offer something pretty unusual I heard recently. That the gas company around Providence, Rhode Island and surrounding areas was only allowed to contract out their gas locating OUTSIDE OF they city limits of Providence, but not inside the city. For all locates inside the city, they were required by law to do it themselves, in-house.

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