October Town Hall | What role can utility coordinating councils play in damage prevention and excavation safety?

damage prevention council utility coordinating council Nov 21, 2022

October Town Hall | What role can utility coordinating councils play in damage prevention and excavation safety?


Moderator: Ann Rushing, Education Manager, North Carolina 811


  • Mary Mead, Director of Damage Prevention, Colorado 811
  • Chris Stermer, Utility Coordination Manager, WGI, Inc.
  • Becky Kinsey, Liaison Manager, Georgia 811

Utility coordinating councils can include private utilities, public agency utilities, engineering firms, and contractor associations among others. Their purpose is to ensure effective communication among all parties whose work impacts utility facilities. With the increased project load following the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last year, it will be even more vital that all industry stakeholders are able to effectively communicate to minimize delays and reduce damages.

In the Town Hall that occurred on October 13th, our moderator and panelists covered a number of different questions, including the following:

  • How do utility coordinating councils or damage prevention councils operate in your respective states?
  • Are they supported by the One Call Centers or by the stakeholders?
  • How have these meetings changed with COVID-19?
  • Why should you attend UCC meetings? How do the agendas vary?
  • Which state has been doing utility coordinating councils the longest? Have they been helping?

One of our ESA members, Gerald Johnson of USIC, brought up some valuable and timely points when discussing the labor shortages faced by many contract locate companies as well as some of the unrealistic timeline expectations, especially when the project in question is very large or contains a substantial amount of area where there are no imminent plans to excavate that area. Each stakeholder group really needs to be aware how one’s work affects the other. Ultimately, one thing that was brought up time and time again is that we need as many stakeholders as possible to show up and be part of the conversation to improve the process.

Want to view the full ESA October Town Hall for yourself and hear exactly what our panelists had to say? Click HERE! We encourage you to participate in future ESA Town Halls and to suggest topics of interest to YOU. Want to attend an in-person Town Hall? Join us for the annual Global Excavation Safety Conference. For more details and to register, visit GlobalExcavationSafetyConference.com.

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