Page 12 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 3
P. 12

Locating Gaps Caused b
An argument can be made that the most important part of any underground construction job is one of the first things that should be done: accurately locating the utility lines on time.
There are several factors that can
and will impact the locator’s ability
to achieve the goal stated in the first paragraph. One factor could be the depth of the utility line creating weak signals, bleed-off and a host of technical limitations. It certainly could be staffing issues. One of the complaints
I hear most often from excavators is
the locating companies need to hire more people. Of course, just hiring more people is not necessarily the answer because the training and experience necessary to turn people
into locators take time... lots of time. So, in that scenario, while you would have people hired, you would not have the productive locators necessary to keep up with the increased call volume demand.
One factor that impacts timely and accurate locates and that often goes unnoticed until it hits the proverbial fan recently came to light while investigating a complaint against a locator submitted by an excavator. The complaint simply stated was that his (the excavator) locate requests were routinely not being responded to in a timely fashion. Upon investigating the complaint, it was determined that the excavator routinely renewed more than 80 locate requests in a subdivision as
allowed by current law. Why renew 80 tickets over and over you ask?
There were a couple of reasons. First of all, that’s the way he’d always done it. Nobody had really complained before and because nobody had complained in the past, there was no reason to change his behavior now. And then the second reason was because he wasn’t exactly sure where he would be called to work in the subdivision on any given day,
his habit was to renew the tickets as required by law, so there would be no delay in getting a new home hooked up to the utilities.
Unfortunately, there was a delay because while the law required locates to be made within 48 hours, it was
10 • Mississippi 811 2021, Issue 3

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