Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-run organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, today released a statement urging damage prevention stakeholders to submit data from 2017 underground excavation damages and near miss events at www.cga-dirt.com. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2018.
This data will be collected and analyzed by the member-driven CGA Data Committee this spring and summer, and will be released in the 2017 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report in August.
The 2016 DIRT Report, which was the sum of all annual data submitted anonymously and voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, one call centers, contractors, regulators, and others, estimated that underground excavation damages conservatively cost direct stakeholders at least $1.5 billion. It included a record-high number of submissions and a record-high Data Quality Index score (a measurement of the completeness of data submissions), yielding the most comprehensive analysis of damages to buried facilities ever compiled.
Nearly 61 percent of the data submissions in 2016 were provided by the locating industry, with natural gas submitting 18 percent – a distant second. Despite excavators being a significant party to any damage or near miss event regardless of the root cause, only about 10 percent of submissions came from this group, with other stakeholders (one call centers, telecommunications, regulators, electric and public works) representing a small portion (less than 4 percent each) of the sample.
“The 2016 DIRT Report was the most comprehensive analysis of underground excavation damages and near miss events to date, thanks in large part to a record number of data submissions,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, President and CEO of CGA. “While we continue to remain focused on growth in overall submissions, we also seek greater diversity in the reporting stakeholder groups. Receiving more data submissions is a win-win for everyone involved. The submitting organization is able to have its voice heard in the DIRT Report, and the report provides a more accurate picture of total damage and near miss events.”
CGA has created a toolkit of educational materials available at www.cga-dirt.com, including a user guide, training tools for registration and submitting data, and details on how it confidentially manages all submitted data. These tools are designed to help the first-time DIRT data submitter feel comfortable with the process.
“CGA’s Data Reporting and Evaluation Committee is aiming to top last year’s record-setting number of data submissions, and one of the easiest ways to reach that goal is by receiving data from more first-time submitters,” said Bruce Campbell, Data Committee co-chair from MISS DIG System, Inc. “As we approach the March 31 deadline, we are hopeful that new damage prevention stakeholders will see the benefits that come from anonymously and voluntarily submitting data to DIRT.”
The complete 2016 DIRT Report is available for download at http://commongroundalliance.com/media-reports/dirt-reports.