According to the Saskatchewan Common Ground Alliance (SCGA), not enough workers in the excavation field use Sask 1st Call before digging around underground or overhead infrastructure.
“People don’t use it, people just feel like they don’t have to. They just dig and most of the accidents occur when they don’t call Sask 1st Call,” said Garry Aveyard, safety advisor for SaskTel.
Sask 1st Call provides underground facility screening and notification for safe excavation. The SCGA recommends that excavators call Sask 1st Call two business days before they begin digging. Aveyard was on-hand for the Saskatchewan Common Ground Alliance’s (SCGA) annual Contractor Safety Breakfast at the Days Hotel Inn & Suites on Monday. Every April, the SCGA holds these breakfasts in nearly 30 cities, including Lloydminster, across the province.
“Everyone knows how to work safely. I would say the biggest thing is no one documents it,” said Aveyard, who also stressed the importance of educating new workers and instilling proper safety habits in them.
“Everyone’s kind of aware of what the hazards are, the biggest thing that I would say is the young workers getting into the job in the digging community, they’re the ones probably that are really unsure of what to do. So they have to be watched and educated and trained.”
The SCGA also emphasized the importance of white lining, which refers to using white paint or flags to outline the dig site, prior to notifying the one-call and excavating.
Invited breakfast guests included construction workers, supervisors, business owners, emergency responders and others associated with any aspect of ground disturbance or working near overhead lines.
Aveyard hopes that, if nothing else, Monday’s presentation will open the lines of communication, literally.
“I can’t state the importance of calling before you dig.”