View Poll Results: Should Locators be certified/licensed using an industry wide standard?

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  • Yes. Without a doubt

    47 70.15%
  • Yes. Eventually

    7 10.45%
  • Maybe... not sure

    5 7.46%
  • No. We've gotten along without it so far.

    2 2.99%
  • No. Leave us alone.

    6 8.96%
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Thread: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

  1. #16
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Not trying to start a firefight here friend, but that's exactly why we have the problems we do. We left it up to the utilities initially to mark the lines, and maintain minimum standards. Many have decided to have contract outfits take care of that for them. I'm for something along the lines of the CDL at minimum. The idea that MKE layed out was very nice too, but with that much left to the states, I believe the they could screw it up even worse than it is. Otherwise, it's going to keep going in the wrong direction. I used to joke that it would take blowing up a school with 500 nuns and orphans in it, to get something changed. Sadly, I don't think that would work anymore.
    The part about a blown up school with nuns and orphans, that may touch our industry history.

    In my early classroom training many years ago I was told that the Call Before You dig Laws came into national effort by many states after just such a tragedy.

    The story was an excavator damaged a gas line and the resulting fire and explosion at a school and killed a number of children. I do not remeber the state, it was mentioned, but I am thinking the southeastern US seaboard. Something like Georgia. I have since tried to find references to such and event and have been unable to find anything. But this would have been in the late 60's or early 70's and internet archives may not have it.

  2. #17
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheddar View Post
    Well maybe I'm missing the point. Do you think the locating/locators in your area are subpar? Do you think they would be better if they were licensed or state certified? I believe that it is the utility owners responsibility to have competent damage prevention specialists.
    I have seen locate firms knowingly field subpar locators. A former firm I worked at degraded their training program, that is they spent less time and with that less money on training. Then they used Hitler's Big Lie tactic and advertised that they had implemented a new and improved training program.

    The cleint firms seem for the most part be unconcerned with the quaility of locator marking their facilites. Just as long as the locate firm pays the damages for mismarks and any state fines. The client companies do not worry about fines as they make it a point to contribute to legislator's campaigns so the locate firms get levied fines and not the client firms.

  3. #18
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    I've brought up this subject before in other threads... Licensing and Certification. I bring it up again as a poll to better gauge the attitude among locators. I am actually surprised to see so many locators feel it is an urgent matter. In the other threads I couldn't really tell how the members felt about the subject overall.

    I am against big Gub'ment. But, the government has a role in our lives. This wouldn't be an entitlement program that hands out billions of tax dollars to people. (which is where the anti-big-government sentiment comes from) It would be a program that ensures the safety of all communities across the nation.

    If something like this were implemented then it would also ensure job security and higher wages for locators. Supply and demand.

    As for sub-par locators being out in the field. We all know they are out there. We also know we have very competent and caring locators in the field as well. In my area, the local contract locating company does phone, power, and gas. From my conversations with the locators and from my observations this is what I know... They have a one week training class. They then (I think) go out into the field with a mentor. Not sure for how long. Then they are sent out in pairs. Newbie with a newbie and do lot jobs. I ran across one of these pairs trying to locate a gas line and they were having trouble where the lines from the two houses intersected. I asked them where the gas main was. They didn't know. I looked at their prints and found it was on the opposite side of the street. They didn't look at the prints prior to attempting the locate. I showed them how to start from the main (to eliminate the possibility of a broken trace wire which is initially what I thought it might be) and then follow it to where the prints showed the service crossing the road and then follow it back to the house. Then hook up to the other gas meter and finish the locate. When I arrived they looked like extras from the "walking dead" with locators in hand. It took me all of 30 seconds to do the gas locate for them. I then left it to them to relocate it and paint the ground themselves since I am not under contract with the gas company and not authorized to mark their utilities. I've also run into another of their newbies who was out by themselves who marked the street light power thinking it was a phone line. His prints showed no phone line where the power line was.

    What am I getting at? When left up to the locate company you cannot count on good, solid training since they are accountable to nobody. The utility companies in my area rely on the locate company to do a good job at training their people. They do not verify the training nor do they check their work from what I can tell.

    I think we need nation wide licensing of locators.
    UULC and Bad Robot like this.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  4. #19
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I KNOW the locators in my area are subpar. So do the contractors who call me up asking me to come and locate the plant that the "locators" missed, or messed up. Every year it gets worse.


    BR, I would have to tell the contractor to recall the ticket in with the emphasis that So & So did not mark the lines correctly. Marking someone else's line could have bad repercussions.
    Last edited by TheCableVine; March 17th, 2013 at 07:08 PM.

  5. #20
    Mke
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    no government involvement whatsoever is what I want .
    Yahoo, what would you say for a national association (not a Union) that was solely to support the betterment of the Locating industry? What if we have people like yourself on one of the state or regional charters to help inform the national association about the needs and news from your area? I know it sounds far fetched, but I've seen a group like this.

    I hate coming back to the way the survey industry is ran, but I think this could help the locate industry. Surveyors are treated like the red-headed stepchild in the engineering world. They are relied on to get the information, but yet they are the first ones blamed when that information is miss-used. Engineers look down on them, construction feels that common laborers can do their job. Their orginization is built on standards and improving the industry. Because of this, they actually have to have a license to be classed as a "Proffesional Land Surveyor". They even have a License to be a LSIT (Land Surveyor In Training). These certifications are based on knowledge and experience. You have to at least have 2 years of field experience or schooling to become a LSIT. 4yr Minimum for the PLS. And you have to be approved by the governing board. No where in this set up does the government have say.... except for a few laws and standards that must be followed.

    I think locators are smart enough to self regulate our standards without too much government involvement. Some states such as California actually have it in their dig laws that locators need to be "certified" to perform locates. The horrible thing is that there is no standards to the knowledge needed so that certification pretty much states you were able to stay in class for the whole time. Not quite what the industry needs, but close.

    If we had professional standards, we could start controlling a little bit of our future.

    I understand the apprehension of the certification process.... I'm more looking for standards......... and government isn't a place I would go for standards. I however would go to other people in my same industry.

    mke
    Bad Robot likes this.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    BR, I would have to tell the contractor to recall the ticket in with the emphasis that So & So did not mark the lines correctly. Marking someone else's line could have bad repercussions.
    Appreciate the concern friend, but I'm way ahead of you here. Everyone gets advised to recall. And everyone gets turned down who requests marks. Honestly, most of these guys just call for advice, or to ask if I know who covers the area/plant in question. I'm glad to help anyone out, but I won't do someone else's job for any reason.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    I have seen locate firms knowingly field subpar locators. A former firm I worked at degraded their training program, that is they spent less time and with that less money on training. Then they used Hitler's Big Lie tactic and advertised that they had implemented a new and improved training program.

    The cleint firms seem for the most part be unconcerned with the quaility of locator marking their facilites. Just as long as the locate firm pays the damages for mismarks and any state fines. The client companies do not worry about fines as they make it a point to contribute to legislator's campaigns so the locate firms get levied fines and not the client firms.
    And that my friends is modern contract locating in a nutshell.

  8. #23
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    The idea of licensing locators is the right idea but it makes me think of when I needed to take a second job and the easy way was to be a rent a cop . When I applied for my D license the owner of the security school told me all they wanted was the money! And when I paid him he said your a good guy so forget the 12 hours of required training and just take this paper work to the State Office and Pay them and they will give me my license. Heck, I gave him fifty bucks under the table and he made it a G license!!!
    The moral of this story is It's all about the money...

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    The part about a blown up school with nuns and orphans, that may touch our industry history.

    In my early classroom training many years ago I was told that the Call Before You dig Laws came into national effort by many states after just such a tragedy.

    The story was an excavator damaged a gas line and the resulting fire and explosion at a school and killed a number of children. I do not remeber the state, it was mentioned, but I am thinking the southeastern US seaboard. Something like Georgia. I have since tried to find references to such and event and have been unable to find anything. But this would have been in the late 60's or early 70's and internet archives may not have it.
    I did hear something like that years ago Pro, and that was probably why I stated what I did. I did not mean to be morbid, or disrespectful in any way. My point was simple. Something tragic, and very big, needs to happen for our( or many other industries ) industry to change in any meaningful fashion.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by locatethis View Post
    The idea of licensing locators is the right idea but it makes me think of when I needed to take a second job and the easy way was to be a rent a cop . When I applied for my D license the owner of the security school told me all they wanted was the money! And when I paid him he said your a good guy so forget the 12 hours of required training and just take this paper work to the State Office and Pay them and they will give me my license. Heck, I gave him fifty bucks under the table and he made it a G license!!!
    The moral of this story is It's all about the money...
    Just like the old Soviet Union! Human nature. The same everywhere, sadly.

  11. #26
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    The part about a blown up school with nuns and orphans, that may touch our industry history.

    In my early classroom training many years ago I was told that the Call Before You dig Laws came into national effort by many states after just such a tragedy.

    The story was an excavator damaged a gas line and the resulting fire and explosion at a school and killed a number of children. I do not remeber the state, it was mentioned, but I am thinking the southeastern US seaboard. Something like Georgia. I have since tried to find references to such and event and have been unable to find anything. But this would have been in the late 60's or early 70's and internet archives may not have it.
    New London School explosion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This one was in Texas and resulted from faulty building codes but is the only one I can find at a school form a gas line explosion. Will have to keep digging

  12. #27
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    with as much wisdom and respect as possible MKE,,,,I would say I'll go with the majority for the better of the community and accept the later consequences of what will be to come .......

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Yahoo, what would you say for a national association (not a Union) that was solely to support the betterment of the Locating industry? What if we have people like yourself on one of the state or regional charters to help inform the national association about the needs and news from your area? I know it sounds far fetched, but I've seen a group like this.

    I hate coming back to the way the survey industry is ran, but I think this could help the locate industry. Surveyors are treated like the red-headed stepchild in the engineering world. They are relied on to get the information, but yet they are the first ones blamed when that information is miss-used. Engineers look down on them, construction feels that common laborers can do their job. Their orginization is built on standards and improving the industry. Because of this, they actually have to have a license to be classed as a "Proffesional Land Surveyor". They even have a License to be a LSIT (Land Surveyor In Training). These certifications are based on knowledge and experience. You have to at least have 2 years of field experience or schooling to become a LSIT. 4yr Minimum for the PLS. And you have to be approved by the governing board. No where in this set up does the government have say.... except for a few laws and standards that must be followed.

    I think locators are smart enough to self regulate our standards without too much government involvement. Some states such as California actually have it in their dig laws that locators need to be "certified" to perform locates. The horrible thing is that there is no standards to the knowledge needed so that certification pretty much states you were able to stay in class for the whole time. Not quite what the industry needs, but close.

    If we had professional standards, we could start controlling a little bit of our future.

    I understand the apprehension of the certification process.... I'm more looking for standards......... and government isn't a place I would go for standards. I however would go to other people in my same industry.

    mke
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  13. #28
    Mke
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    with as much wisdom and respect as possible MKE,,,,I would say I'll go with the majority for the better of the community and accept the later consequences of what will be to come .......
    Hey yahoo, no need to go with the majority. You've been in this game for a while, and in a different area then i'm at. I'm just curious if you see a way out of the predicament that the industry faces. I whole heartedly am with you about keeping the government out of it. And I too, am fearful of unknown consequences that can come up in these situations. I just see the industry i'm part of failing and no one in the captians chair seems to care.

    I say if you are against it, stay against it. Just keep putting in your 2 cents so we can take that into consideration and find a middle ground.

    mke

  14. #29
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    Yea! And While we're at it lets have a national registry of gun owners too!

    There isn't enough money in this racket for the Federal Government to care enough to be involved. We represent a super small percentage of the work force and, unless there is a big damage, as a whole we enjoy modest anonymity. I like it that way.

    Besides, anyone who doesn't think the Goverment isn't already involved in the utility business is either very uninformed about their profession, supremely naieve, or don't care. Asking for more involvement from them is asking for trouble.

    But hey! If it does happen maybe we'll all get cool badges, ID's, GPS's in our trucks, monitored cameras/computers/phones. We would be so "official" looking and stuff.

    Yea... That would be so awsome...
    Last edited by travelingphotographer; April 18th, 2013 at 07:19 PM.

  15. #30
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    Default Re: Do you think there should be National certification/licensing of Utility Locators?

    What Government involvement are you referring to? Enlighten us o' wise one

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