Gold Shovel Association and Common Ground Alliance to Explore Establishment of New CGA Arm Focused on Taking Damage Prevention to the Next Level
TEMPE, Ariz. (October 19, 2021) – Gold Shovel Association (GSA), a nonprofit association focused on continuously improving safety by providing meaningful damage prevention certifications and standardized performance metrics, and Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, today announced they will explore establishing a new arm of CGA that will integrate GSA into the organization in a continued and combined effort to reduce damages to critical underground infrastructure and protect those who work and live near these important assets.
The collective industry commitment of both associations is expected to further the ongoing, common focus on lowering damages, and will provide an opportunity to take damage prevention to the next level. Building on GSA’s metrics development and damage prevention certification as well as CGA’s Best Practices and foundational DIRT (Damage Information Reporting Tool) data, this newly created branch will amplify the efforts of the associations’ collective mission of reducing damages to buried utilities, which cost the U.S. and approximate $30 billion annually.
“The Gold Shovel Association is pleased to bring its excavation and pre-excavation metrics and its certification process together with CGA’s robust research and data assets to ensure safety at every step in the damage prevention process,” said Cheryl Campbell, vice chair of the Gold Shovel Association board of directors. “Our work together will allow us to focus on addressing challenges across the damage prevention process.”
“Damage prevention is unquestionably a shared responsibility, and CGA and GSA are committed to working together to reduce damages across the industry. Engaging members in both organizations will ensure that we proceed in lockstep to do what is best for the damage prevention industry as a whole,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, CGA president and CEO. “We are excited to continue exploring the development of this new segment of CGA and look forward to sharing more information with our members.”
The collective knowledge and industry commitment of both associations is expected to further an ongoing common focus on reducing damages to the critical underground infrastructure that communities depend on every day.
About Gold Shovel Association (GSA)
The Gold Shovel Association is a member-driven, non-profit organization with more than 1,600 members who are committed to improving workforce and public safety by reducing damages to underground utility infrastructure. The Association facilitates continuous safety improvement and reduces environmental harm by providing meaningful damage prevention certifications and standardized performance metrics. Learn more about the Gold Shovel Association and its signature certification program, the Gold Shovel Standard, at goldshovelstandard.org.
About Common Ground Alliance (CGA)
CGA is a member-driven association of more than 1,800 individuals, organizations, and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the preeminent source of damage prevention data and information in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at commongroundalliance.com.
Mel Christopher, Executive Director
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Gold Shovel Association Announces Pre-Excavation Standards
Mapping, Locate & Mark Activities Added to Damage Prevention Certification Program
TEMPE, Ariz. (August 11, 2021) – In connection with National 811 Day, the Gold Shovel Association today announced expansion of the organization’s damage prevention certification program to include specific policies, procedures, and performance metrics for locating, marking and mapping underground infrastructure. The program expansion also includes technology platform updates to collect, report and share performance metrics.
“The Gold Shovel Association is working hard to make communities safer by reducing damages to underground utility infrastructure,” says Josh Hinrichs, Gold Shovel Association board chair and president of ELM Companies. “Implementing meaningful certifications and standardized performance metrics for mapping, locating and marking activities is the next critical step to achieving this goal and recognizes the excavator as the primary customer in these processes,” he added.
The new standards for facility owners and contract locate entities include requirements for written policies and procedures that encourage the use of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) by facility owners during project planning, incorporate Common Ground Alliance best practices and Nulca competency standards for locating and marking facilities, resolve issues related to problem locates, and facilitate information sharing regarding mapping accuracy and discrepancies. The program also standardizes definitions and data collection and sharing for performance metrics including on-time locates, quality of locate and mark activities, mapping accuracy and timeliness of mapping updates.
“We can only meet our goal of zero damages when we work together to ensure safety at every step in the process,” says Mel Christopher, executive director of the Gold Shovel Association. “The certification program and metrics for pre-excavation activities combined with our existing excavation program provide a full end-to-end view of the damage prevention process and align with a safety management approach to continuous improvement.”
Today’s announcement celebrates more than three years of cross-industry collaboration by the Association’s Pre-Excavation Committee. The committee utilized a consensus process involving excavation companies, contract locate and mark entities, facility owners and other damage prevention industry experts to develop and pilot the program certification requirements and performance metrics.
Pre-Excavation Committee members include representatives from Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Dominion Resources, Southwest Gas (NYSE: SWX), Washington Gas, UGI Utilities, Inc., PECO, ELM Companies, UtiliQuest, USIC, Vannguard Utility Partners, MasTec, West Valley Construction, Charge/Accu-Bore, Michels Corporation, Delmarva and Sempra Utilities. The pre-excavation program was approved by the Gold Shovel Association Board last month.
The Gold Shovel Association will host a webinar on August 19 to discuss key elements of the expanded certification program. Register for the webinar at goldshovelstandard.org/events.
About Gold Shovel Association
The Gold Shovel Association is a member-driven, non-profit organization with more than 1,600 members who are committed to improving workforce and public safety by reducing damages to underground utility infrastructure. The Association facilitates continuous safety improvement and reduces environmental harm by providing meaningful damage prevention certifications and standardized performance metrics. Learn more about the Gold Shovel Association and its signature certification program, the Gold Shovel Standard, at goldshovelstandard.org
Mel Christopher, Executive Director
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