A panel of damage prevention experts addressed key topics in excavation safety and the CGA Next Practices Initiative

WASHINGTON – Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, partnered with the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) to hold the Excavation Safety Summit on March 6.

Moderated by PCCA Chairman and CGA Board Member John Fluharty, the Summit brought together expert panelists to discuss key topics in excavation safety, including the advancement of CGA’s Next Practices Initiative and the latest Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report data and trends. Panelists included CGA President and CEO Sarah Magruder LyleVice Chair of CGA’s Board of Directors and Nulca Chairman Josh HinrichsPCCA First Vice Chair and Next Practices Advisory Committee member Jerrod Henschel, and Continuum Capital President Mark Bridgers.

“Excavators have the same end goal as all other stakeholder groups, and that is to protect buried utilities and the people who live and work around them,” said John Fluharty (Quanta, PCCA Chair, Excavator Representative on CGA’s Board of Directors and CGA Next Practices Advisory Committee member). “This Excavation Safety Summit highlighted the fact that we must continue working together across industry groups to share damage data and bring about changes that will ultimately make damage prevention more effective and lead to better safety outcomes.”

“The Excavation Safety Summit was an excellent opportunity for CGA to continue our commitment to working with excavators to bring about improvements to the damage prevention process that will make their jobs safer,” said Sarah Magruder Lyle, President and CEO of the Common Ground Alliance. “The upcoming launch of our DIRT Authorized Integrator Program will make it easier than ever for excavators – and all stakeholders – to submit their damage and near-miss reports to DIRT, marking an important step in our partnership with excavating stakeholders. We as an industry need to invest in new solutions that fix issues for all stakeholders – including excavators – and CGA is very hopeful that our Next Practices Initiative and more excavator submissions into DIRT will drive the discussions and meaningful changes that are needed.”

Launched in 2020, the CGA Next Practices Initiative seeks to encourage innovation and new practices to address the most critical challenges facing the damage prevention industry by analyzing data, case studies and stakeholder input. The Initiative recently published a Report to the Industry that identifies persistent challenges within the industry and provides strategic opportunities to improve the efficiency of the damage prevention process as a whole.

“The CGA Next Practices Initiative was started with the goal of tackling some entrenched issues and pursuing innovative solutions so that the damage prevention process works for all stakeholders all the time,” said Jerrod Henschel (Equix, Inc., PCCA First Vice Chair, CGA Next Practices Advisory Committee member). “We were thrilled to share the key findings from the Report to the Industry with excavators at this Summit and hear their feedback on working toward a more efficient damage prevention process.”

“As the people who work around buried facilities every day, excavators undeniably play a key role in the damage prevention process,” said Josh Hinrichs (ELM Companies, CGA Board Vice Chair and Locator Representative, Nulca Chair). “The Excavation Safety Summit allowed us to share CGA’s excavator and locator research and survey data with these key stakeholders and engage in a discussion about where the damage prevention process can be improved to help protect critical utilities and those working near them.”

The CGA/PCCA Excavation Safety Summit was part of PCCA’s 76th Annual Convention, which took place March 5-10 in Naples, Fla.

About CGA

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,700 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the preeminent source of damage prevention data and information in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at http://www.commongroundalliance.com.

About PCCA

The Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) is the national trade association for companies constructing electric power facilities, including transmission and distribution lines and substations and telephone, fiber optic, and cable television systems. Other areas of members’ business activities include directional drilling, local area and premises wiring, water and sewer utilities, gas and oil pipelines. The membership includes hundreds of companies located throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These companies are the leading construction, manufacturing, supply, and service firms within the industry. The association was founded in 1945. For more information, visit https://www.pccaweb.org/.

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