Common Ground Alliance's Inaugural White Paper Offers Data-Supported Recommendations for Improved Excavator Training and Outreach

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First-of-its-kind report uses recent CGA research to provide damage prevention stakeholders with tactics and messages likely to resonate with professional excavators

WASHINGTON (May 1, 2019) – Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the leading national authority on protecting underground utility infrastructure from excavation-related damages and near-miss events, today announced the release of a new White Paper that offers a blueprint for all stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of their outreach to professional excavators about preventing damage to underground utilities. 

CGA White Paper: Data-Informed Insights and Recommendations for More Effective Excavator Outreach analyzes data from the most recent CGA DIRT Report, a national online survey and in-person focus group sessions conducted with professional excavators, and a study of general public awareness of the 811 “call before you dig” service to offer the following four key takeaways:

  1. Continue increasing awareness of 811 through strategic marketing and education campaigns.
  2. Acknowledge the realities of the jobsite when communicating best practices to excavators. 
  3. Develop an integrated communications plan to reach all types of excavators. 
  4. Make damage prevention training more easily accessible, relevant and actionable. 

The White Paper uses specific citations and graphs from CGA’s primary data sources to outline a research-backed case for the four takeaways, which are all supported by at least three specific and actionable recommendations for damage prevention stakeholders to use when partnering with professional excavators. 

CGA focused its attention on professional excavators because of their unique position in the damage prevention process – which spans from the critical first step of calling 811 prior to digging, to excavating with care. Additionally, the CGA White Paper highlights the potential benefits that could be achieved if stakeholder groups as varied as facility operators, one call centers, regulators and general contractors all using consistent tactics and messages when partnering with excavators to prevent damage to underground utilities. 

“Stakeholders across all industries face two major challenges that make preventing damages increasingly more complex and difficult,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, president and CEO of CGA. “An increase in excavation projects nationwide combined with a crowded underground infrastructure put tremendous added pressure on all stakeholders to work smarter in targeting key areas of performance that can reduce damages to buried utilities. With the release of our White Paper today, CGA can offer the damage prevention community an important new tool for being more efficient and effective at preventing damages.”

Excavators who participated in the online survey cited throughout the White Paper self-identified areas of training and education where they felt they most needed guidance and assistance from other stakeholder groups. Examples included requests for more specific references to state laws in videos, fact sheets and informative and easy-to-read one-sheeters that use concise and direct language free from jargon.

“CGA’s White Paper will serve as a very valuable resource for everyone who works with all types of professional excavators to prevent damages to underground facilities,” said Randy Douglas, founder of Tierra Contracting and road builder director serving on the CGA Board of Directors. “Because this report is based on research studies that listened to the concerns and requests of excavators, the resulting recommendations are findings that all excavators should be able to support.”

“Damage prevention should be an incredibly important safety issue for all types of excavators, which is reflected in the inclusive focus of the CGA White Paper,” said John W. Fluharty, II of Quanta Services, Inc., and excavator director serving on the CGA Board of Directors. “The White Paper’s recommendations are as valuable and relevant to utility contractors as they are to landscaping and fence installation contractors, plus all of the related stakeholder groups who work in partnership with all excavators to reduce utility damages. This White Paper is a significant new asset for everyone who wants to reduce damages and improve employee safety.”

CGA White Paper: Data-Informed Insights and Recommendations for More Effective Excavator Outreach is available to non-members of CGA only until May 31, 2019 at CommonGroundAlliance.com/whitepaper-public.

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.