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Thread: Locator Certification

  1. #16
    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    I think locator certification is a great idea. The only problem with doing it nationwide would be the different locating scenerios in different areas. Up where I work I can use a 2 inch stubby screwdriver and get a great ground and then some of you need a 4 foot ground just to get any continuity. Not to mention half of locating is understanding the prints and structures which is different everywhere you locate. We all know if we can find the hookup point we can locate it.

    I do think if there was a way to make a standardized format it could and would just be better for the industry as a whole. If all people were trained with the major concepts it would help with contracts and such.

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    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenboy View Post
    I think locator certification is a great idea. The only problem with doing it nationwide would be the different locating scenerios in different areas. Up where I work I can use a 2 inch stubby screwdriver and get a great ground and then some of you need a 4 foot ground just to get any continuity. Not to mention half of locating is understanding the prints and structures which is different everywhere you locate. We all know if we can find the hookup point we can locate it.

    I do think if there was a way to make a standardized format it could and would just be better for the industry as a whole. If all people were trained with the major concepts it would help with contracts and such.


    Yea, I agree Goldenboy. There needs to be standardization so that everyone has all of the basics. Every apprenticed trade deals with standard techniques then gets into differences in state/county rules and regulations. The regional differences can be added to any curriculum fairly easily.

    I agree with you 100% about prints. This is covered in our training somewhat but then I guess all prints are different, so it does take a while in the field to get fully comfortable with them.

    P.S. Wholly crap! a stubby screw driver for a ground rod? Where do you locate, kaua'i, Hawaii (rainiest spot in the world 500" rain per year on the wet side).
    Here where I locate, my transmitter would just laugh at me if I tried that!
    Last edited by underground quester; May 27th, 2008 at 10:33 PM.

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    P.S. Wholly crap! a stubby screw driver for a ground rod? Where do you locate, PORTLAND, OREGON???
    Here where I locate, my transmitter would just laugh at me if I tried that![/QUOTE]

    I wish here in Florida we could use that. I have always carried water in a squirt bottle and Dawn dish soap.

  4. #19
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    P.S. Wholly crap! a stubby screw driver for a ground rod? Where do you locate, PORTLAND, OREGON???
    Here where I locate, my transmitter would just laugh at me if I tried that!
    I wish here in Florida we could use that. I have always carried water in a squirt bottle and Dawn dish soap.[/QUOTE]


    Yes, some of the guys here do that as well. In the winter we add a little methol alcohol so it does not freeze?

    Not: I was editing the message and apparently you read it before I changed it to Kaua'i from Portland.

  5. #20
    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    FYI I was being a little sarcastic about the stubby screwdriver. I know I'd get continuity most the year with it but I use an 18 inch ground rod during the summer months and a flag pounder in the winter months.

  6. #21
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Amazing, we could use a chat line on the forum. We just passed each other in typing.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    I guess I will have to be the fly in the ointment on this certification idea. For starters, if this is to be administered by a government entity which one, or would it be an entirely new department? More bureaucracy, more expense, more pressure because once you certify someone you must surely re-certify them every few years and charge them again so the bureaucracy can keep expanding and hiring more kinfolk and friends so they can affor lobbyists to expand their scope and keep growing and re-certifying and expanding and maybe institute a 1/2 % sales tax on the public in general, etc. etc. etc.

    Anyways, why should we be certified if equipment operators aren't required to be certified?
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  8. #23
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Very good argument. I would still venture to say we need to be certified.

  9. #24
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenboy View Post
    FYI I was being a little sarcastic about the stubby screwdriver. I know I'd get continuity most the year with it but I use an 18 inch ground rod during the summer months and a flag pounder in the winter months.

    LOL, yes I caught the humor. I immediately thought now what would be the wettest place in the U.S. Originally thought of Oregon but changed that to hawaii. It all good!

  10. #25
    Junior Member Loc8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by underground quester View Post
    Absolutely support an initiative like that 100%.

    I have stated since I got into this business that this needs to be recognized as the profession that it truly is...not just a job that "anyone off the street could do" as many companies would have us believe.

    I truly believe it will be outside forces that bring change here in Alberta. I do not believe there is the will within the First Call Corporation, the corporation utility shareholders nor the contract companies that serve them.

    I do see want and need within the private locating field and there is some movement in that direction to certify "private" locators. I have taken the course and am working toward the requirements for final certification. Even though I am not a private locator I put my money and time where my mouth is. The company would not pay for the course, nor would they pay for my time away from work. No matter, I am doing it for me, not for my present employer.

    It is about bloody time someone stepped forward to get this thing started.


    (Okay, I will step down off my soap box now!)
    Hey Underground Quester,

    I am very curious as to what you are talking about for certifying "private" locators. I happen to be one of those types here in Alberta and there are no certification courses that I know of specifically for private locators. I would also be very interested in hearing more about your thoughts on the industry as a whole since your view seems to be similar to mine.

    I know many in the public locating realm here in Calgary have a very low opinion of private locators but they are the reason I am around. They hate it when I stand there waiting for them to finish so I can double check the work. There are a number of so called locators here who can't locate their ass with both hands and they tarnish our profession. I would dearly love to see those ones out of the industry so the good locators can stand up and be recognized for the value add jobs they do.

  11. #26
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Loc8r,

    Well said!

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    I am certified to locate gas facilities. I believe there already is some sort of federal requirement but can't remember under which department.

  13. #28
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loc8r View Post
    Hey Underground Quester,

    I am very curious as to what you are talking about for certifying "private" locators. I happen to be one of those types here in Alberta and there are no certification courses that I know of specifically for private locators. I would also be very interested in hearing more about your thoughts on the industry as a whole since your view seems to be similar to mine.

    I know many in the public locating realm here in Calgary have a very low opinion of private locators but they are the reason I am around. They hate it when I stand there waiting for them to finish so I can double check the work. There are a number of so called locators here who can't locate their ass with both hands and they tarnish our profession. I would dearly love to see those ones out of the industry so the good locators can stand up and be recognized for the value add jobs they do.

    Love your avatar.

    I am of course speaking of the certification program offered at ENFORM (PITS)

    The course now has requirement that you take number of courses, the 7 work day long locators course, ROW ground disturbance course, reading and interpreting Maps, bear awareness (but no rattler awareness course) Defensive driving, ATV/Snowmobile course,
    H2S, First aid, WHMIS/TDG. You also have numerous requirements (5 pages in the log book) you must meet in maintaining and updating a geophysical locators log book that include records of locates you worked & these must be signed off by your manager minimum 200 hours mostly within a rural setting, safety orientation within the company, PPE, Reporting procedures, Emerg response procedures, etc. The requirements must be met within 2 years AND you must requalify every 6 years. BUT, the positive here Kerry is that you as a locator have documented proof of what you can ACTUALLY do because you can show them what requirements you have consistently met.

    This is an initiative started by Ken Kuzyk from Capaulc but is supported by many of the oil and gas associations in Alberta. Numerous gas coops, Bob Chisholm (Alta 1 call) Alberta Energy, numerous survey companies, etc. sit on the locators training curriculum development committee. At this point it is obviously voluntary, but many on the committee are attempting to move the requirements forward.

    I was recently interviewed and hired by a PRIVATE LOCATING firm in the Peace Country & this certification was a HIRING REQUIRMENT. No course, no job. I was attracted by the money (2 X what I am making plus LA of $165.00 per day) but in the end I decided I did not want to spend weeks at a time away. Did that for 25 years with CN Rail.

    I have no particular bent either way regarding Private locating. It is one hell of a lot more difficult than the job I do. I respect the PATIENCE and creative thinking that must go in to doing the job.
    Having said that, because Edmonton (and Calgary for that matter) are growing like bad weeds, I have a huge territory in the S.W. quadrant of Edmonton. Full of old infrastructure, and a host of new infrastructure. Many of the records are lost/outdated so am in essence locating much like a private locator, many times during the day.

    My educational background is Process Management/ISO 9000 Quality Management so I tend toward the anal retentive when it comes to doing this or any other job.

    Because of the serious nature of the work we all do (most especially private locators) I want more training and education but get looked at like I have two heads when I ask. So, I took the responsibility upon myself to upgrade my skill/knowledge sets.

    I agree there are some in this industry who have difficulty locating (put polietly) but I sometimes wonder...who really is at fault.
    Was the individual properly interviewed, asked appropriate questions, background checked for references, attitudes checked out with former employers, adequate timely training, adequate followup and mentoring, appropriate work level for the competency (an Alberta Workers Comp requirement but rarely met), COMPETENCY records maintained so the company can defend themselves in event of a mishap (none I know of) and requalifing training.

    I think we both know the answer here Kerry.
    There never seems to be time to do this much checking. So then, I ask myself, who really is at fault if they cannot locate.
    I am not speaking of your company here Kerry as I know nothing of it, but in general some firms do not have the time, resources, nor I believe the will to do things properly in order to get the results they desire.
    When some companies do not get what they want, the individual is blamed and let go and the whole process starts all over again. One hell of a COST CENTRE isn't it? And many managers just do not see what the hell is going wrong or why!

    For these reasons, I believe FORMAL training must be taken out of the hands of most companies and the individuals trained to recognized standards. Their skills are then further developed while working on the job. Much the same as any apprentice going to NAIT/SAIT has to take standard course work/testing to meet known standards.

    Okay, I will get off my soap box now. (Sorry if I come across ranting, but I am pretty passionate about this issue)!!
    Last edited by underground quester; May 28th, 2008 at 07:21 PM.

  14. #29
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=sprayandpray;1047]I guess I will have to be the fly in the ointment on this certification idea. For starters, if this is to be administered by a government entity which one, or would it be an entirely new department? More bureaucracy, more expense, more pressure because once you certify someone you must surely re-certify them every few years and charge them again so the bureaucracy can keep expanding and hiring more kinfolk and friends so they can affor lobbyists to expand their scope and keep growing and re-certifying and expanding and maybe institute a 1/2 % sales tax on the public in general, etc. etc. etc.

    Anyways, why should we be certified if equipment operators aren't required to be certified?


    Hey Spray:

    Good counter point.

    I do not know exactly but here in Canada, Apprentices are tracked by some government body until they become a journeyman. Most trades do NOT have a recertification process.

    At present, I would think the department already exists. Ask anyone you know who is a journeyman trades person and they should be able to tell you what department takes care of this. Probably some department that deals with labor issues (no, not the local maternity hospital!!).

    In Alberta at present, the change is being spearheaded by the Oil and Gas industry in conjunction with a company called ENFORM ( Same kind of thing as the Staking University but deals with all forms of oil and gas training including locator training). I do not believe it is on the radar of the government at this point but could be wrong.

    In Alberta, almost anyone can jump onto a piece of heavy equipment and after 10 minutes of training call themselves an operator. There is a training institute in Alberta that offers a heavy equipment operators ticket. It is not a requirement though.
    Last edited by underground quester; May 28th, 2008 at 07:39 PM.

  15. #30
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    what is the chance that this would ever take place?????

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