Gas & Electric Benefits
The top excavation priority for nearly all gas and electric utilities is reducing line strikes associated with small excavators and third-parties. It is challenging to influence these reductions, yet they represent the single most significant risk to safety associated with excavation damage.
“The safety of our employees, customers, and communities we serve is our top priority. As the largest natural gas distribution utility in the nation, we hope our participation will make a significant positive impact by encouraging contractors to adopt industry best practices for excavation safety.”
Vice President, Gas Operations, SoCalGas
Safety and Damage Prevention departments within utilities are tasked with reducing risk to the company while managing the additional hurdle of strained resources. Operators typically have a management system in place to cover first- and second-party contractors and excavators, but identification and efficient management of unknown third-party excavators remains elusive. Gold Shovel Standard can help utilities influence the behavior of third-party excavators through its network, including smaller excavators that work in rural areas.
Many Safety and Damage Prevention departments within utilities are concerned that the overwhelming majority of excavators – large, small, rural, urban, experienced and new – are not adequately equipped to manage their business against line strike performance.
All Gold Shovel Standard-Certified excavators are equipped with specialized software to improve performance and conduct sophisticated analysis of their damage prevention performance. They are also prepared to communicate to their utility customers an empirical, detailed performance history and comparison to industry benchmarks, based on crew assessment, location, type of client, individual task and many other parameters. GSS provides an opportunity for operators to reduce risk through these tools and can also directly support Safety and Damage Prevention departments, relieving some resource constraints.
Gold Shovel Standard Communities are an innovative approach to shifting the paradigm of how damages are viewed. For too long, it was acceptable practice to the problem of line strikes to be the sole responsibility of the owner of the damaged infrastructure, leaving damage resolution to the utilities involved. Gold Shovel Standard Communities flip that paradigm and embrace the recognition that partnerships between asset owners hold the key to driving damage reductions.
Gold Shovel Standard provides a demonstrable means for reducing risk to buried gas and electric infrastructure along with a clear and simple solution for attacking damages from third-parties and small excavators. GSS also provides support for in-house damage prevention teams in the management of first- and second-party excavation contractors, including contractor safety programs, and identification of third-party contractors who may pose a threat to the network. GSS helps manage these programs more efficiently and may help maintain the reputation of both the utility and excavator in the event of an incident.
Gold Shovel Standard is easy to implement with existing resources. The program does the most significant part of the work on behalf of the member company. The current annual fee for utilities is $2400.
Case Study – 38% Reduction in Third-Party Damages
In less than 33 months, Gold Shovel Standard member Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), saw a 38 percent reduction in third-party line strikes, through its partnerships to establish a Gold Shovel Standard Community in the Sacramento, California region.