UCT Launches Damage Prevention & Safety Conference

New to the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) in 2010 is the Damage Prevention & Safety Conference (DPSC) with a two day program focusing on preventing damage to underground utility infrastructure and reducing safety risks related to accidental strikes of buried pipe and cable.

The 2010 UCT will be Jan. 19 – 21, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL.

The DPS schedule is:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Educational program including six timely damage prevention and safety topics; and
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20: Locator certification seminar.

“The importance of protecting our underground facilities and reducing the dangers resulting from utility strikes is receiving growing attention by utility owners, locating agencies and contractors who do underground construction,” said industrial consultant Walt Kelly, who is coordinating the first day of educational sessions.

“Many organizations – the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), one call agencies and federal agencies such as OSHA and Pipeline Safety – actively address damage and safety issues,” Kelly added. “We believe the new UCT DPS program fills an important need by presenting valuable, practical information to contractor and utility personnel who are actively involved in underground construction.”

Kelly said sessions on the opening day range from how excavators can provide information that will result in more complete one call locates, locating privately owned facilities and facilities on private property, and an update about sewer lateral locating procedures and crossbore issues.

The locator certification seminar will be presented by Staking University which specializes in underground utility locator training. It will combine classroom and hands on instruction focusing on the underlying principles of utility locating, as well as the importance of performing accurate locates. There is a separate charge for this day-long seminar.

DPS Zone
A 40 by 90 foot area on the exhibit floor will be designated as the DPS Zone and will include a grid in which participants can locate simulated underground utilities.

Mike Parilac, Staking president and senior instructor, said the UCT locating training program is a condensed version of two day sessions offered by the university.

“The concepts presented in classes will be demonstrated in the special area on the exhibit floor,” he said. “We find an increasing number of contractors are performing locates – whether they want to verify one call markings or are responsible for locating and marking facilities in areas where there are privately owned utilities. Because much of the damage prevention industry is slanted toward facility owners, UCT’s large attendance of contractor and utility personnel who work in the field provides an excellent venue to bring locating programs to people who need to know how to make accurate locates.”

Cost of participating in the Jan. 19 sessions is included in registration for the full conference while the one-day locating certification seminar is $275.

Kelly provides a variety of services in the underground damage prevention field and frequently is called on as an expert witness in litigation involving utility accidents. Previously he served as director of the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety and on the board of directors of Gopher State (Minnesota) One Call.

Parilac has been involved in utility construction since 1982 and established Staking University in 1998. He also owns Underground Focus magazine and Planet Underground, a resource for products and services related to underground utility damage prevention.