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Hand Me My Pick- I Need To Hand Dig! HAND DIGGING? HOW DO I DO THAT?

We have a complex utility locate system in Ontario with many regulations, standards, guidelines and best practices that employers and workers must follow to ensure they are working safely near buried utility lines. Many of these documents state that you must hand dig within the tolerance zone or hand expose zone without giving clear direction of HOW to hand dig or hand excavate. The purpose of using hand digging or vacuum excavation techniques is to prevent damage to a buried facility. While vacuum excavation requires a trained operator that knows the regulations and rules to follow when vacuum excavating around each type of buried facility, hand digging can be performed by anyone without kn

Excavating on Private Property: Managing the Challenges and Reducing Risk

Last year in Ontario there were 5,042 reported damages to buried utility infrastructure that resulted in an estimated $600 million in societal cost expenditures, according to the 2018 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report. This Report indicated that the direct and indirect costs are a result of repairs, emergency response, evacuation, environmental contamination, down-time, interruption / loss of production and sales, and the redirection of safety services such as 9-1-1. Unfortunately, these statistics are grossly underestimated as they only account for public utility owned infrastructure damages that are voluntarily reported. These direct and indirect costs also do not account for




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