As utility and excavation contractors, we all know what dirt is because it is the soil we dig in all the time. However, there is another definition of dirt; one that is very important to our industry and every contractor should be familiar with it. DIRT is actually the acronym for Damage Information Reporting Tool.
With more than 19 million miles of buried utilities in the United States, there are plenty of obstacles to navigate around when performing an excavation project. While services such as One-Call are a great starting point at identifying a utility’s location, exposing a utility is the only sure way to know where that valuable infrastructure truly lies.
Preventive maintenance (PM) is as much about safety as it is about maintaining equipment to improve its life. Contractors realize that if they want their equipment to last a long time, they must establish a preventive maintenance schedule to ensure that oil and other fluids are changed as required, the air pressure in tires is checked regularly, tune-ups and adjustments are performed, etc.
Many people don’t appreciate the weight of soil. One cubic foot of soil weighs between 90 and 140 lbs. Just one cubic yard of soil (27 cubic ft), weighs between 2,430 and 3,780 lbs. The human body isn’t designed to accept the trauma of having that much weight fall on it. The deaths and injuries result from suffocation, crushing, drowning, loss of circulation and objects rolling or falling into the trench or excavation.
Most companies like yours have a written safety program that spells out the company’s safety policies, procedures and responsibilities. However there is a dilemma with written safety programs, which could cause a lot of problems for a company, especially if that company is involved in an OSHA hearing or some form of litigation related to safety.