Damage Prevention/Safety Program Expands At UCT

An expanded Damage Prevention & Safety (DP&S) Conference again will be a part of the 2011 UCT (Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition) scheduled at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center Jan. 25-27.

Two days of educational sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25, and Wednesday, Jan. 26, with a day-long Staking University locator certification seminar on Thursday, Jan. 27.

“Damage to underground utilities caused by excavation during construction remains a primary cause — if not the leading cause — of damage to buried facilities,” said Industry Consultant Walt Kelly, coordinator of the Tuesday and Wednesday program. “Accidental damage to utilities can cause disruptions in services, property damage, personal injuries and death plus pose a danger both to construction workers and the general public. DP&S topics address causes of these accidents and ways to prevent them.”

DP&S Program
Topics of sessions scheduled Jan. 25 are:

• You’re on the Jury: A mock trial in which attorneys representing plaintiff and defendant present their cases before the “jury” of attendees. The case is based on an actual utility accident;
• Crossbore Update: Learn the latest about issues affecting the serious issue of crossbores through sewer laterals, including details of a recent Minnesota regulatory action to reduce the risk of crossbores which is expected to be a guide other states may follow;
• When Contractors Should Make Their Own Locates: A discussion of situations in which contractors should make locates themselves to verify or supplement one-call;
• Advances in Shielding and Shoring: Learn about advances in shielding and shoring and situations in which different types of trench safety systems are best suited for site conditions; and
• Regulator Update: Get the details about new state safety regulations recently enacted, regulations pending approval, and others under consideration.

Topics for Jan. 26 are:

• How Potholing Can Reduce Accident Risks: Panelists discuss benefits of potholing and how visual location of buried utilities can help avoid utility hits;
• Analysis of Locating Technologies: An overview of the various locating technologies and the strong points and limitations of each; and
• Locator Certification and Why It Matters: Why certification of locators is important and a preview of Thursday’s certification seminar.

Locator Certification Seminar (subhed)

The locator seminar will be held at a special “Safe Zone” on the exhibit floor. Beneath the area’s raised surface are simulated underground utilities for participants to locate, putting into practice classroom lessons.

“We teach students how electromagnetic locators work and how to operate them,” said Mike Parilac, Staking University president and senior instructor. “Information is presented in simple, concise terms, and whether a student has no experience or years of experience, they benefit. Completing the course provides the foundation to be a good locator.”

Parilac said that after such seminars experienced locators have told him that although they had used locators every day for several years, they never had fully understood how they worked.

“They said learning how the instruments function makes them a better locator,” said Parilac.

Those who attend the Houston seminar and pass the test at the end will receive a Staking University certification.

Tuesday and Wednesday sessions are included in the cost of registration for the UCT show. Cost for attending the locating seminar is $275.

The first UCT DP&S conference was held at the 2010 show in Tampa. Attendance was strong and interest was high, justifying scheduling an expanded place on the 2011 program.

Kelly owns Walt Kelly Enterprises Inc. and 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.

For more information about the Damage Prevention & Safety Conference, UCT, and to register on line, go to the UCT website, www.uctonline.com.

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