Utility Locating 6-17-19

Underground utilities are extremely dangerous hazards that most of us at Oakes encounter every day. Electrical lines can cause shocks, burns, and electrocution. Damaged gas lines can create an explosive atmosphere and can possibly cause suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the area. The best way to prevent damaging underground utilities is by having them located and marked before we start to dig.

Recently, Oakes has been having several issues with locating utilities on our job sites.

1. Locating companies are extremely busy this time of year. They have a tough time keeping up with our demand and work schedule.

2. Due to the busyness, locators want to perform their job as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means that the locators may not want to fulfill the complete locate ticket but only do enough to satisfy the jobsite needs for the day.

3. When there are multiple Oakes work crews on one jobsite, the locator may not know which crew or area is needing the locate.

4. There may be multiple points of contact for the locate ticket on the jobsite (Project Managers, Superintendents, Foremen). This can cause confusion for the locator.

All of these issues can cause a locate to be incomplete and/or inaccurate which can lead to serious injuries and death.


To help protect ourselves and our fellow employees, all Oakes employees shall now follow these practices when in the locating process:

1. Think ahead and look at the big picture. Plan your locates based on what you will be doing on site in the next couple of weeks not just the next couple of days. Crews that will work on the jobsite after you will benefit from well-planned locates.

2. Make sure that locators are fulfilling the entire locate ticket request when on site. Have them mark out the entire ticket request and have them refresh all the markings on site. Doing this will save both Oakes and the locate companies time.

3. Make sure that the locator is contacting the correct person for the locate request. Direct them to the correct person. Check with the other Oakes crews on site to see what their locating needs are before releasing the locator.

4. Do not dig within 18 inches of a mark with a machine until utility is found by pot-holing. Always work between your pot holes.


Please start implementing these practices immediately. Applying these practices to our locating process can prevent scheduling issues, incomplete locates, and hazardous situations.