Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 33

Thread: National Certification

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    2,943
    Years of Experience
    16
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    134

    Default National Certification

    This has been brought up before and I'd like to bring it up again.

    Why do we not have any nationally recognized standards for becoming certified as a locator?

    Why doesn't the Federal Government recognize that our job is so crucial that we need only the best to hold those positions?

    Why doesn't NULCA or the CGA work towards this goal?

    Just a couple of questions to consider.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  2. #2
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,117
    Years of Experience
    30+
    Rep Power
    57

    Default Re: National Certification

    Steve, I agree we as locators need National Certification. Like you said in another post a flagger has to be certified. We protect critical infrastructure. I am sure a lot of Viners would know how to bring down the infrastructure if they were terrorist. I for one would submit to a background, drug, and any other test that at a national level would be given. It should not be held by a private company. We should be tested in knowledge, theory, use of equipment.

    If a person who cuts hair needs certified then we damn sure need to be. I am sure some will disagree with what I said but this would be the first way to get better wages.

    I believe the CGA (Common Ground Alliance) is the one's to head this up. NULCA (National Utility Locator Contractors Association) has never been up to standards that I personally thought they should. I was a member for 3 years and paying dues out of my pocket and I personally felt I did not receive anything in return. The CGA I believe has the ear of congress and the lobbyist in Washington.

    All this is my personal views as I have been a member if both groups, paying out of my own pocket for the dues. Not every locator can afford to be members to either one as the dues are out of reach of most.

    Ok I am off my soapbox.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    antarctica
    Posts
    2
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: National Certification

    The problem is the "best" aren't cheap.

  4. #4
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Off the deep end
    Posts
    1,121
    Years of Experience
    17 years
    Rep Power
    53

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    I believe the CGA (Common Ground Alliance) is the one's to head this up.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    Why do we not have any nationally recognized standards for becoming certified as a locator?

    Why doesn't the Federal Government recognize that our job is so crucial that we need only the best to hold those positions

    Companies don't care about certifications because there's nothing in it for them. It would drive their costs up and certified locators would insist on better wages. Companies wouldn't hire certified techs.

    UULC, I believe the CGA is made up of mostly contract and utility company CEO's. Utilitquest CEO is on their board. The National Association of Utility Regulators may be something to look into.

  5. #5
    Im being moderated
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    15
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: National Certification

    Never would happen, Never will happen. LMAO!!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    2,120
    Rep Power
    94

    Default Re: National Certification

    Steve, in order to have National Certification, akin to having a valid Commercial Driver's license, we would have to have National Locating Laws and not just voluntary Best Practices. Do we really want another government bureaucracy created?

    As my old Pappy always told me: Be careful what you wish for - you might get it.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


    The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer. or my wife , if that matters.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    353
    Rep Power
    24

    Default Re: National Certification

    Yes, there would have to be some 'laws' (standards) that would qualify a locator, and define the minimal standards that must be followed.
    I dunno if there would need to be a new bureaucracy to run it, could maybe be overseen by OSHA or some other workplace safety assn.

    It would also more clearly define when an incident is the digger's fault, the provider's (utility) fault, or the locator's fault, or the locator's management fault.

    Id hate to be a hoe operator digging on some poorly-trained gas line locator's paint.

    I would bet it would be nearly impossible to pull that off at the federal level from the get-go. That would need to start locally (state), probably in states that have a history of high profile hits...
    (May you live in interesting times)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Stuck outside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again
    Posts
    311
    Years of Experience
    4
    Rep Power
    20

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Steve, in order to have National Certification, akin to having a valid Commercial Driver's license, we would have to have National Locating Laws and not just voluntary Best Practices. Do we really want another government bureaucracy created?

    As my old Pappy always told me: Be careful what you wish for - you might get it.
    It wouldn't be a bureaucracy, merely a federally regulated set of minimum standards that each state would be required to comply with, along with an authority to conduct audits to make sure that the standards are being maintained, similar to the federal railroad authority, most of which is funded by the railroads. The FRA exists to protect public safety, something that the locating industry is supposed to do as well, make the utilities pay for it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    328
    Years of Experience
    14
    Rep Power
    22

    Default Re: National Certification

    I don't see a mere certificate improving anything. Almost anyone can study, pass a test and get certified for many things. The proof would have to be in practice. There would have to be something akin to an apprenticeship tiered level. This setup couldn't work if based solely on hours worked or seniority, there would have to be a national database for damages that would stop poor locators with high hours from taking the top rank. The very best should carry a rank or certificate reflecting their excellence, and that is how I think it ought to be set up.

    I don't see NULCA as ever doing anything about this, it would only cut into their profits. Look who is on the boards of CGA compared to NULCA. NULCA is run by the companies who profit from uncertified, in their eyes unskilled, labor, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way. The CGA has members across the industry, Utilities, municipalities, water boards, and yes contract locators. The CGA is the only place where there can be a hope for any certification.

    Sorry, but I doubt Unions have any interest in us beyond collecting their dues.

    By the way if you are really interested in the locating industry you might want to check out the 2010 DIRT report from the CGA, there is some great information and statistics about our jobs.

    http://www.commongroundalliance.com/...ContentID=6875

  10. #10
    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    387
    Years of Experience
    31
    Rep Power
    28

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by headcipher View Post
    By the way if you are really interested in the locating industry you might want to check out the 2010 DIRT report from the CGA, there is some great information and statistics about our jobs.

    http://www.commongroundalliance.com/...ContentID=6875
    If I were you, I would not put a lot of faith in the "DIRT Report", as we (NULCA) have recently reviewed the data and, as in previous reporting periods, we have determined that the data is woefully lacking in completeness and accuracy and can be skewed to the slant of the person submitting the data. In fact, this very subject is a key element on the agenda for the upcoming NULCA BOD meeting.

    The following is a direct excerpt from the 2010 DIRT Report;

    "Was the Facility Properly Marked",
    "When looking specifically at incidents where answer to question is “no”…
    “Contract locators performed the majority of site markings for the events reported in 2010, but proportionally they performed no better or worse than [in-house] utility locators.”


    "Putting the Results to Action"
    "Data Committee Recommendations to Damage Prevention Stakeholders"
    "Outreach/Education/Awareness"
    Increase one call requests by small fencing, irrigation, and landscaping contractors. Review one-time or occasional users to ensure they are calling every time they excavate and not just occasionally.
    Provide reminders and sufficient training to locating professionals. Benchmark good practices, and visit locating professional trade associations to speak to them or have discussions about such practices.

    In other words, according to CGA's 2010 DIRT Report, contract locators need additional training and are statistically no better than the in-house locators when it comes to accuracy and damages.

  11. #11
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    2,120
    Rep Power
    94

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_CAS View Post
    If I were you, I would not put a lot of faith in the "DIRT Report", as we (NULCA) have recently reviewed the data and, as in previous reporting periods, we have determined that the data is woefully lacking in completeness and accuracy and can be skewed to the slant of the person submitting the data. In fact, this very subject is a key element on the agenda for the upcoming NULCA BOD meeting.

    The following is a direct excerpt from the 2010 DIRT Report;

    "Was the Facility Properly Marked",
    "When looking specifically at incidents where answer to question is “no”…
    “Contract locators performed the majority of site markings for the events reported in 2010, but proportionally they performed no better or worse than [in-house] utility locators.”


    "Putting the Results to Action"
    "Data Committee Recommendations to Damage Prevention Stakeholders"
    "Outreach/Education/Awareness"
    Increase one call requests by small fencing, irrigation, and landscaping contractors. Review one-time or occasional users to ensure they are calling every time they excavate and not just occasionally.
    Provide reminders and sufficient training to locating professionals. Benchmark good practices, and visit locating professional trade associations to speak to them or have discussions about such practices.

    In other words, according to CGA's 2010 DIRT Report, contract locators need additional training and are statistically no better than the in-house locators when it comes to accuracy and damages.
    I don't doubt this as in-house locators typically only do 1-way locates and have more time to do their locates.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


    The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer. or my wife , if that matters.

  12. #12
    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    387
    Years of Experience
    31
    Rep Power
    28

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    I don't doubt this as in-house locators typically only do 1-way locates and have more time to do their locates.
    Yes but...the problem is that you should doubt this. The DIRT data is less than accurate. According to CGA, they can only get ticket volume data from 31 of the 58 One Call Centers, so they are statistically basing their stated findings on incomplete data and extrapolating the numbers. According to the DIRT report, contract locators do their locates improperly 26% of the time. Think about that for a moment, if you did 20 locates today, according to CGA, 5.2 of those were done wrong...

    For example; Florida is the single largest One Call Center by volume. The two largest customers (ticket receivers) for Florida 811 are Florida Power & Light (FPL) and AT&T with 660,000 and 480,000 annual locate tickets respectively. That is over 1.1M tickets annually from just two customers. FPL and AT&T utilize the same contract locating firm and 98.58% of their respective locates are performed by that contract locating firm. Florida 811 dispatched 6,777,017 locate tickets for 2010, using the DIRT data indicating that 72% of all locate requests are handled by a “contract locator” that equates to 4,879,452 locates and by the DIRT metric 26% or 1,268,657 of these locates are “wrong”? That would mean that every workday in Florida, there are 4,879 locates done wrong!

  13. #13
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    328
    Years of Experience
    14
    Rep Power
    22

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_CAS View Post
    If I were you, I would not put a lot of faith in the "DIRT Report", as we (NULCA) have recently reviewed the data and, as in previous reporting periods, we have determined that the data is woefully lacking in completeness and accuracy and can be skewed to the slant of the person submitting the data. In fact, this very subject is a key element on the agenda for the upcoming NULCA BOD meeting.

    The following is a direct excerpt from the 2010 DIRT Report;

    "Was the Facility Properly Marked",
    "When looking specifically at incidents where answer to question is “no”…
    “Contract locators performed the majority of site markings for the events reported in 2010, but proportionally they performed no better or worse than [in-house] utility locators.”


    "Putting the Results to Action"
    "Data Committee Recommendations to Damage Prevention Stakeholders"
    "Outreach/Education/Awareness"
    Increase one call requests by small fencing, irrigation, and landscaping contractors. Review one-time or occasional users to ensure they are calling every time they excavate and not just occasionally.
    Provide reminders and sufficient training to locating professionals. Benchmark good practices, and visit locating professional trade associations to speak to them or have discussions about such practices.

    In other words, according to CGA's 2010 DIRT Report, contract locators need additional training and are statistically no better than the in-house locators when it comes to accuracy and damages.
    I take it to mean that you believe that contract locators should have a better at-fault ratio than in-house. That is most definitely not the case here.

    I don't know of anyplace that has better stats, do you?

    The report stated that 72% of locates, that were reported to them, were located by contract locators.

    Contract locators had 26% of damages reported as at-fault, in-house had 25%.

    I know for fact that at least a few states have mandatory reporting to DIRT for damage and locate data, mine being one of them, and 31 different call centers across the nation report the information in the DIRT report. I can tell you that our locators have a much better damage to locate ratio and a better at fault ratio than what is in this report.

    I'm not here to piss on NULCA, but tell me what they have going on on this. I'm sure you ought to know, aren't you involved with the board? There was a lot of talk a little over a year ago and nothing ever happened that I know of. I genuinely would like to see something happen.

    If you are involved with NULCA, or maybe I'm mistaken, I had wondered something. Why does the NULCA "best practices" for locating forbid induction? Has that been updated in the last year? I couldn't do my job without it. (By the way, not said sarcastically, I really want to know.)

    Hey, glad to see you post on something I'm interested in again. It seems like half of the old posters haven't had too much to say recently.

  14. #14
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    328
    Years of Experience
    14
    Rep Power
    22

    Default Re: National Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_CAS View Post
    Yes but...the problem is that you should doubt this. The DIRT data is less than accurate. According to CGA, they can only get ticket volume data from 31 of the 58 One Call Centers, so they are statistically basing their stated findings on incomplete data and extrapolating the numbers. According to the DIRT report, contract locators do their locates improperly 26% of the time. Think about that for a moment, if you did 20 locates today, according to CGA, 5.2 of those were done wrong...

    For example; Florida is the single largest One Call Center by volume. The two largest customers (ticket receivers) for Florida 811 are Florida Power & Light (FPL) and AT&T with 660,000 and 480,000 annual locate tickets respectively. That is over 1.1M tickets annually from just two customers. FPL and AT&T utilize the same contract locating firm and 98.58% of their respective locates are performed by that contract locating firm. Florida 811 dispatched 6,777,017 locate tickets for 2010, using the DIRT data indicating that 72% of all locate requests are handled by a “contract locator” that equates to 4,879,452 locates and by the DIRT metric 26% or 1,268,657 of these locates are “wrong”? That would mean that every workday in Florida, there are 4,879 locates done wrong!
    I see what you're saying. They aren't claiming that 25% of locates were wrong, they are claiming that 25% of damages to facilities were considered the fault of the locator. They state that about 3 in 1000 locate requests result in damaged lines, not 250 in 1000.

    My head hurts GWJ_CAS, you're making me read fine print on statistics.

  15. #15
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    328
    Years of Experience
    14
    Rep Power
    22

    Default Re: National Certification

    By the way this in-house guy does at least 3 services per locate, and at times 5- gas, electric, h20, sewer, fiber, and if I'm on one of our properties or plants then we have everything.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •