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Thread: Our own training forums

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    Default Our own training forums

    I have a suggestion which is a variant of another suggestion here. I want to make it in a new tread so that it's meaning is reflected in the title and recognized as a new posting.

    I suggest two new categories, one closed to selected members only and one open.

    The intention is to develop training material for new locators, material written by experienced locators who have used the equipment and methods.

    The closed forum would consist only of the experienced locators, the level of experience to be determined. In it there would be various subjects such as the RD 400 and RD 4000, MetroTech 810 and it's variations. Here the experienced locators could pool their experiences, make contributions and one locator could then edit the material into training material for the new locators.

    The final output would be a posting where if the software allows it can be replaced as the material is later updated.

    This may workout into various areas so that the forums can be intelligibly read. The closed forum where the experienced locators develop the material, a forum where the material is posted and a third forum where newcomers can ask questions about a specific problem relating to the second forum.

    Example:

    Closed brainstorming section, each locate equipment would have it's own thread. The members of that thread would only be locators who have experience with that method or particular equipment.


    Open forum for all to read but no posting where the instruction manual is posted. One forum for each manual that the brainstorming group produces.

    Then the open questions forums where each manual created by the brainstorming group can have questions asked and answered.

    I think this may be too much work for the site manages to deal with, but I thought I would suggest it.

    As some examples there are several versions for the RD 400 out there, two types of transmitters, the lunch box and the notebook. People experienced with them can write of their individual strong and weak point. They can write of the best methods to use with each one in various situations.

    There are just so many things that the OEM manuals do not cover.

    Take the venerable old Metrotch 810. The old one that has sound, a vane meter and a digital read out. There are so many nuances to this machine. (I hear Metrotech wanted to cease production but demand for it was so high)

    How do you set the gain on an 810? Well there is no gain adjustment on the receiver and no signal strength settings on the transmitter. So how to you adjust it when you get several utilities together and cannot get the signal on the one you want? Here is what you do: Look at the marks and find where you lost your good signal, you want to go a bit further back into the area you have a good signal and induce by dropping the transmitter over the utility. Still even with this inducing the other utilities are getting bleed over and you still can't get a good reading over in that spot you were trying to mark. Look at those other utilities as if a birds eye view. Okay, here you are over the utility looking towards the area you have trouble. To the left of you is something else getting bleed over signal and too the right there is nothing anywhere close. Okay, take the transmitter and move it to the right several feet. The idea is to induce a signal on the utility you want to find and get the bleed over on the other utilities so weak they do not interfere with the utility you want to mark. Keep moving that transmitter to the right until you get the result you want.

    Using the above inducing method I have found primary electric buried deeper than the CATV that is running parallel nearly over top of it.

    There are just so many things we do that need to be passed on. I find many companies have poor training and many new locators lose their jobs damaging out just doing the job the way they were trained to do it.

    I saw a locator marking an industrial park parking lot some months ago. Talked to him and he had been locating for one year. Went back a few days later and saw that he had completely mismarked the primary and secondary services. He marked the electric primary and services one foot off the face of and parallel to the building. Stepping out about 20' from the building you can see the slight depression left in the parking lot from the utilities trench. The trench ran from transformer to transformer but nobody had taught this guy installation techniques and how to read the disturbances in the ground.

    Anyway that is my general idea. To implement this would be awkward and cumbersome. But then we have no deadlines on this.

    Comments solicited.

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    I have thought many of times of putting together a training manual for our noobs. It would involve from how to log in to the MD to setting the camera properly. I thought of doing picture captures and adding text bubbles indicating what was needed to done. I find that the training they go through is worthless and they are just as lost on day one in the field as they were when they first stepped foot in the training class.

    The last guy that came out to our crew didnt even know how to login to the MD nor did he even know how to read the AT&T prints....couldnt tell you what was copper or fiber..nothing. The guys worked with us for 3-4 months and he still calls me on stuff like putting tickets ongoing.

    I know its not exactly what you were pitching but it goes along with what a noob needs to know and/or understand.

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Quote Originally Posted by sling'n paint View Post
    I have thought many of times of putting together a training manual for our noobs. It would involve from how to log in to the MD to setting the camera properly. I thought of doing picture captures and adding text bubbles indicating what was needed to done. I find that the training they go through is worthless and they are just as lost on day one in the field as they were when they first stepped foot in the training class.

    The last guy that came out to our crew didnt even know how to login to the MD nor did he even know how to read the AT&T prints....couldnt tell you what was copper or fiber..nothing. The guys worked with us for 3-4 months and he still calls me on stuff like putting tickets ongoing.

    I know its not exactly what you were pitching but it goes along with what a noob needs to know and/or understand.
    actually that is what I was pitching. Such training material need not be confined to using specific models of locating equipment.

    Sure, you could write a manual for reading the prints used in your area. Take what the company has, if it has anything, and add to it what is missing.

    You could just as easily write on how to make a ticket ongoing in compliance with your state law, company procedure and how to do it with your software.

    If it is something a noob needs to know it could be done there.

    Start with teaching me; If newcomers to locating are noobs are we doobs?

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    I'm looking at some different software packages that will create a separate section so we can possibly make this a reality.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Sounds more like a Wiki to me
    (May you live in interesting times)

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I'm looking at some different software packages that will create a separate section so we can possibly make this a reality.
    If you set a Microsoft Sharepoint site, you can have items "checked out" for editing.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Sounds like a wiki to me too.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Premium Conservative OVUS1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Two cents again.....

    Although many companies train differently, there are common tasks that could be put out there - many manufacturer's actually do this in some of their training material. The problem with posting them here (or anywhere) is validating the skill set of the contributor (after all we are all just mercenaries with no organization or entity willing to completely certify us) and getting past the legal issues. What if a tech puts into practice a process shown here and a damage results? His/her company would probably have an issue with technicians using techniques not taught by the company. The tech might lose their job, then want to sue the website or author of the technique for detrimental reliance (the claim that they relied on "professional" direction that resulted in adverse action against them). Heck, if a company can prove the information came from a third party and caused harm to the company, they could possibly sue for tortious interference (someone trying to interfere with the business itself).

    I would assume that most company's training material is copyrighted or protected, so any unauthorized duplication or dissemination is against the law for proprietary reasons. I love the "shared folder" idea because if we can streamline all of our training, we could all save money and pump it back as raises, equipment, or other ways, but as always I tend to see the bigger picture and all possible pitfalls as well.

    Remember, a disclaimer is no guarantee of warding off a lawsuit, and the only person that wins any lawsuit is the attorney...... Defense is very expensive even if you are on the right side of the law.
    Last edited by OVUS1; December 20th, 2009 at 04:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    I don't see this as an issue. If a tech doesn't follow procedure because they read a different way of doing it, then that is the techs choice. Nobody is compelled to follow any procedure they come across on the net. They are required to do it the way the company wants them to and any deviation from that is, again, the techs choice.

    I don't see how any site can be liable unless they purposely put out wrong information and encourage the use of it.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    I have to disagree as well and the reasons are this...the training given is approximately 80% policy and procedures, 15% reading utility drawings, 5% actual locating. I gather this from speaking with locators coming directly out of the 4 week training class.

    When you have to teach a freshly taught right out of training locator how to login to MD thats pitiful. When you have to show them how to tell the difference between a cooper or fiber line on the AT&T drawings..that pitiful. When you have to tell them what settings to set the camera so that they dont use a SD card up in 1 or 2 days..thats pitiful. When you have to continiously explain how to put tickets ongoing, manually correct your drive time due to having to have a meet or whatever reason caused you 20-30 mins extra to get to next job...thats pitiful.

    The things that should be taught but aren't is what should go in the wiki. Special techniques of locating should be taken upon the individuals decision as whether it is something they should be applying without proper training or supervision is up that person. Techniques such as 60 cycle, witching wire, and pipe horns are things that need on hands training. Just because we discuss it here doesnt mean we are telling someone to go out and do it. But if that person wants to learn then they should ask a senior locator to show them. Besides I dont think techniques was on the list to put into the wiki.
    Last edited by sling'n paint; December 20th, 2009 at 11:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Methods and techniques present no problem begin put into the wiki if done correctly.

    The uses of any method can be regulated by the various locate firms. When we write here we are not addressing one specific company when it comes to how to perform some method when locating. We are not telling the people reading the wiki to ignore company rules. We can even put a header advisory for the reader to consider what their company permits in their decision to use or not use these writings. Putting such an advisory is in general a good idea just to remind some people who may get enthusiastic to stop and think before they act.

    Some companies prohibit inducing a signal, others do not. For those that do not prohibit inducing giving field experience advice from experienced locators of what works, or does not work, would be very useful.

    Right now I am writing about the Metrotech 810 for the wiki. The manufactures manual does show how to induce but there are little field tips they do not cover.

    For example....

    There is a shallow utility interfering with your reading the line your are marking. There is no gain adjustment on the receiver, no signal strength or frequency adjustment on the transmitter. What you do is note where the interfering line runs, dots of paint or whatever. Then go back to where you got a good signal on your utility. Look at the other utilities near your utility and look for an adjacent area where there is nothing too close to your utility. Put the transmitter over you line with the clip leads pulled out, this activates the antenna in the bottom of the case. Place the transmitter over your line at 90 degrees to your line. Now you are sending a radio like signal out and your line is picking up like a receiving antenna.

    Now that you are inducing follow your line down to the section that gave you trouble and try again. Do not be surprised if you still get a bleed over signal onto the same utility that caused you trouble before, you still cannot get a read on your utility in that section. What you have to to is go back to your transmitter and adjust the signal output even though there is no feature on the transmitter that allows for this.

    Here is what you are egoing to try and do. You are going to weaken the signal to your line to the point where your line picks it up but the bleed over to the other utility is lessened to the point it is no longer interfering with your reading your line.

    since there is no signal adjustment on your 810 transmitter do this. Suppose all the other utilities are the left of your line. Move the transmitter several feet to the right and go back and try to read your line. If this does not work go back and move the transmitter further to the right and try again. This method does work most of the time.

    The method I wrote of above will work with any equipment that can induce a signal but those with adjustable gains, frequencies and signal strength equipment may not be familiar with it. To make it clear for the wiki I will need to make some drawing to make the written words clear.

    We do not know how much training a locator has received. I once met a locator while they were marking a plastic gas line. I could see they were having trouble so I offered to take a look. Being new to the field and not familiar with electricity they did not see the problem. They had not been told to strip the insulation off the end of the gas line tracer wire and the clip was on the insulation.

    Without proper training, and many firms do not offer it, the locator is in a learn by trail and error. This self learning process can lead to getting fired for too many damages. The wiki can allow experienced locators to help both noobies and other experienced locators. With these documents in a wiki many of us experienced locators can add a lot of successful field experience to these articles.as we can all contribute to these articles. We can save a lot of people's jobs and just maybe keep some poor guy digging out there from getting killed.

    The wiki is new, there are bugs and procedures to work out. I:f we have the will we will find the way.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    sidebox?

    I"m just a little worried for the new Pups in the neighbor hood. I've seen too many trainee's try to attempt some of the stuff we do, and not understand how to implement it, and get bit.

    I was training a guy once, and took my time and showed him how to disect a locate. Rip into a ped, understand what he is looking at. Basic Locating 101. He rode with me for 3 weeks, and I had him locating realitively well for someone who's never located before. He Rode with another locator for 3 days, when I got him back he was worthless.
    The other locator showed him how to induce.....which is a fantastic way to locate.....if you know how. He was droppin his box on everything, as long as he got one signal he though he was done.

    He finally burst into flames about a year later, when he deceided not to show up for work. He didn't quit, he just "wasn't feeling it" that day.

    What if we just had a specific forum for Techniques? that way there could be some dialog as the thread devolops?

    mke

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    sidebox?

    I"m just a little worried for the new Pups in the neighbor hood. I've seen too many trainee's try to attempt some of the stuff we do, and not understand how to implement it, and get bit.

    I was training a guy once, and took my time and showed him how to disect a locate. Rip into a ped, understand what he is looking at. Basic Locating 101. He rode with me for 3 weeks, and I had him locating realitively well for someone who's never located before. He Rode with another locator for 3 days, when I got him back he was worthless.
    The other locator showed him how to induce.....which is a fantastic way to locate.....if you know how. He was droppin his box on everything, as long as he got one signal he though he was done.

    He finally burst into flames about a year later, when he deceided not to show up for work. He didn't quit, he just "wasn't feeling it" that day.

    What if we just had a specific forum for Techniques? that way there could be some dialog as the thread devolops?

    mke
    We can always create a thread on techniques but a wiki is superior.
    The thread will degenerate into half a dozen or more was to do it. It will be difficult to follow and because the thread will age sone be off the menu of threads screen, buried in the back.

    A wiki is superior because it will produce a single document that is easy to read. Everybody can contribute from the best ways to do the technique to changing the wording to make to point clear. The single wiki document can have numerous authors all combining their experiences.

    While too many autheors and disputes can cause a problem the wiki software, perhaps not the software used here, can be set to accomidate this. The site oeprator can set the wiki so that only certain members can edit certain wikis. Equally the wiki can be locked so no changes can be made until they are approved.

    So far a wiki looks like the best option.

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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    sidebox?

    I"m just a little worried for the new Pups in the neighbor hood. I've seen too many trainee's try to attempt some of the stuff we do, and not understand how to implement it, and get bit.

    I was training a guy once, and took my time and showed him how to disect a locate. Rip into a ped, understand what he is looking at. Basic Locating 101. He rode with me for 3 weeks, and I had him locating realitively well for someone who's never located before. He Rode with another locator for 3 days, when I got him back he was worthless.
    The other locator showed him how to induce.....which is a fantastic way to locate.....if you know how. He was droppin his box on everything, as long as he got one signal he though he was done.

    He finally burst into flames about a year later, when he deceided not to show up for work. He didn't quit, he just "wasn't feeling it" that day.
    <SNIP>

    mke
    When I train a noobie I also show them inducing and make it clear to them that they are not ready to do this themselves. I tell them there are other locators that will tell them to go ahead and induce everything and that if they listen to these other locators they can expect to be looking for a new job soon, they will damage out.

    I consider it part of training to tell these noobies about what some call shortcuts. That these are not shortcuts but advanced techniques that are only suitable to experienced locators. That they do not yet have the experience to use these methods. I teach them to hook up which they see me do for all the locates. I teach them special methods like inducing and I teach them that when direct connection does not work only then should they resort to this. Also before resorting to these advanced methods to first call for help, if not their foreman then call me.


    I show them inducing, passive scan like 60 cycle, how to recognize what is an old trench line and what types of deformities in the earth are left by bore pits. Not all of this is going to stick but I am patent and persistent. I repeat the lessons all the time telling them I do this not because they a lack ability to learn but because repetition sinks in.

    Teaching is an art in it self. Even the best locator in the company may turn out poor trainees if they are not good a teaching.

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    Premium Conservative OVUS1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Our own training forums

    Some people approach learning locating using the "path of least resistance" method. They tend to pick up perceived shortcuts and techniques that require greater skill than they possess at the time, and these bad habits many times make the task easier so they stick to them. I was an equipment trainer for several years for Radiodetection Corporation, and have trained thousands of people on locating techniques. I had the same experience as Mke - tried to convey as much good information as possible in the time allowed, only to find out later that many picked up bad habits after continued field training and had been "very lucky" as opposed to very skilled in many of their locates.

    I never taught induction unless I was personally aware of the ability and experience of the trainee. We as a company allow it only by those technicians that have verifiable training, experience, and the track record (audited) to support its' use by those few individuals cleared by Operations to use it.

    Again, it seems that there are more training issues relating to associated tasks, not just locating. Cameras, manifest technology, virtual (ticket management) processes, computer proficiencies are all critical to complete a locate, and it is just as frustrating when these tasks are glossed over during the initial hiring process and the tech ends up struggling with these issues while trying to accurately locate UG utilities.
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