In June 2012, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed Bill 8, the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, which, among other things, requires owners of buried infrastructure in the public right of way – including municipalities, universities, hospitals and private condominium properties – to register their buried infrastructure with Ontario One Call (ON1Call).
Before an excavator breaks ground, he or she must contact ON1Call which in turn will contact the infrastructure owner to accurately locate and mark their buried utilities. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, failure to comply can result in fines of up to $500,000 for individual corporations. In light of these requirements, many utility owners are opting to outsource the work to utility locate contractors that are trained and experienced in the field.
This strategy makes sense from both a cost and safety perspective: utility locating is a complex and time consuming endeavor that includes many facets from managing ticket requests 24/7, to implementing a 360 degree feedback process, to following an escalation protocol in cases of emergency. When outsourcing the work, there are several key markers to look out for, as enlisting the services of an underqualified or inexperienced contractor could actually increase the likeliness of damages, injury and liability.
Here are a few key selection criteria to keep in mind: MAKE SURE THAT HEALTH & SAFETY IS AT THE FOREFRONT Above all else, ensure that the selected contractor follows a robust Health, Safety & Environmental (HS&E) Management System that incorporates, at a minimum, principles of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, applicable general safety practices, a hazard identification and reporting process and an injury/incident investigation process.
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