Think Ground Disturbance, Think Dig Safe

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Written by Jessica Tucker, HSE Specialist

Ground Disturbance is described as any work, operation or activity that results in a disturbance of the earth, including, without limitation, excavating, digging, trenching, plowing, drilling, tunnelling, auguring, backfilling, blasting, topsoil stripping, land levelling, peat removing, quarrying, clearing and grading. There is a lot of work happening each day in Canada that falls under this category. Employers all across the country are obligated to ensure that their workers are aware of all workplace hazards and are competent in completing the tasks they are asked to perform. The biggest hazard in relation to ground disturbance activities is striking any kind of underground utility or infrastructure. Consequences range anywhere from services disruptions to loss of life.

The Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA) is an organization dedicated to the safety of people and the environment which is achieved by promoting the adoption of effective ground disturbance and damage prevention practices. The ABCGA has a committee dedicated to developing training standards related to damage prevention activities. They will endorse a training provider’s course by ensuring that it meets all requirements, deemed necessary by the committee and their stakeholder relationships, to capture industry best practices and effective damage prevention content.

The British Columbia Common Ground Alliance (BCCGA) has come on board with the training standard set out by Alberta. The BCCGA will now also be dedicated to ensuring training providers are releasing content, specific to the province of British Columbia, that meets a certain set of minimum requirements. A course can be endorsed based on the either the Alberta or British Columbia Standard.

With BC coming on board it begs the question- how much longer until the rest of the Canadian provinces adopt this training standard too? As previously mentioned, ground disturbance activities pose one of the highest risks to workers and the environment in today’s workplace. April is Dig Safe month in Canada. It is designed to coincide with the start of spring digging season and to serve as a reminder to homeowners and contractors that everyone needs to call or click before they start digging.

Danatec offers an online Ground Disturbance Supervisor training course, fully endorsed by the ABCGA. This course includes the 2016 updates to the 201 training Standard. Ensure that you or your workers know how to effectively manage risk and work safely.

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