One of the most important aspects of being a successful underground utility contractor is ensuring that all jobsites are safe. In addition, contractors must also be in compliance with federal safety and damage prevention rules and regulations. Therefore, the primary missions of the NUCA Safety and Damage Prevention Committee has been to create and provide contractors with information, educational materials, and compliance assistance. The committee also discusses new proposed rules and regulations to help NUCA’s Safety Director prepare and submit comments to government agencies and the Common Ground Alliance.
NUCA and the safety committee have been involved with submitting comments and testimony in reference to OSHA regulations starting with the OSHA Excavation Standard, Confined Space Standard and more recently the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard. When new rules and regulations are first proposed, many of these standards need to be reviewed and comments need to be submitted. With the help of the safety committee, NUCA reviews the standards and submits comments in hope of making the standards more practical.
In addition, NUCA participates in the Common Ground Alliance, which deals with dig safe/one call best practices. When necessary the committee also reviews CGA recommendations and makes suggestions to help NUCA representatives express concerns about proposed best practices.
Over the years the committee has helped to create materials for training and educating the work force. According to George Kennedy, NUCA’s Vice President of Safety, safety committee members are a valuable resource that he has relied upon to obtain information, including pictures that he has used to create training programs and educational materials such as the Competent Person and Safety Training Program, Confined Space Entry Program, Rigging Program, and Silica Program in addition to videos and other materials. He has also utilized information and pictures obtained from committee members when writing the Safety Management column in Utility Contractor magazine and NUCA Safety Newsletter. NUCA’s Safety and Damage Prevention Committee also contributes to the NUCA Safety Directors Forum by suggesting topics and speakers. He considers the committee to be a valuable resource.
The committee meets approximately six times per year, either in person or via conference calls. The Current committee chairman Warren Graves and Kennedy are currently working on a plan to schedule meetings. According to Kennedy, all members, including safety directors and workforce members, are welcome to participate in the meetings. Meeting dates and times will be posted on the NUCA website and in the normal NUCA news feeds.
Most importantly the committee is about helping companies improve their safety programs and activities. By implementing successful safety programs, companies can prevent accidents, which cause injuries and/or damages. By participating in the Safety and Damage Prevention Committee you can help to ensure that NUCA members are the best and most successful underground contractors in the country.