Welcome to KNOW Before You Dig- OWN Your Safety's Blog.
In 2017 there were over 5,100 reported Utility Infrastructure damages in Ontario, up 36% from 2016. More than 2,700 damages caused a service disruption with a total cost of $1 Billion to Ontarians.
What's really shocking, is the 61% of the reported damages in 2017 had requested and completed their Locates!
Why is this so high? What is being done to keep people safe?
Grant Piraine, President of OWN Your Safety shares how his organizations is taking a comprehensive approach to Utility Infrastructure Awareness Training and Education to keep people safe and reduce risk for organizations.
Who are you and what is your experience
Grant Piraine: As the President of Own Your Safety I have worked in the excavation industry since 1990, first starting out as an environmental engineering consultant. In 2004, I started OnSite Locates, a private utility locate contracting company. Then in 2017, I started Own Your Safety to focus on Utility Infrastructure Awareness for the excavation community.
Why did you start Own Your Safety?
Grant Piraine: I started Own Your Safety to share my 28 years working as an excavator, locator, educator, and business owner within the excavation industry so that everyone gets home safe. My first 14 years on the job, when it came to “calling before you dig”, it was by trial and error. In an industry where the smallest mistake can be the difference between life or death, everyone should know the risks and consequences of not KNOWING. I don’t want young workers to learn as I did. You are basically gambling with your life if you learn by trial and error when working around buried utility infrastructure.
Why are you so passionate about Safety?
Grant Piraine: It wasn’t until 3 years into OnSite that safety clicked for me. I was 39 with a wife and 3 children under 9 years old. I had been working with large corporations with strong health and safety cultures, policies, and procedures. In my first 14 years, I was not exposed to safety like this. Everything just started clicking, and I began to realize that I am not invincible and safety is important. This knowledge opened my eyes to realize that my family needs me to come home at the end of the day.
In your opinion what are the top three risks when it comes to excavating around buried Facilities?
Not knowing what is in the ground before you dig.
Not knowing the complex locate process here in Ontario.
Not having a strong safety culture, personally or professionally.
How can these risk be mitigated to reduce Utility Infrastructure Damages?
Ensure that you have your public and private locates completed before you dig.
Know everything there is to know about utility infrastructure awareness.
Practice safety at home and at work, so that safety is something you always do and think about. Before you complete any task at any time, ask yourself just before you start, “Is what I am about to do safe, and what could potentially go wrong”.
What makes your training program different than other safety awareness programs out there?
Grant Piraine: Every course that we teach is focused on our philosophy of taking ownership of your safety. Safety starts with you having the training and knowledge to ensure that you KNOW before you perform any task.
Aside from Training what other areas do you think organizations should look at to increase their safety and manage their risk when it comes to Excavation around Buried facilities.
Grant Piraine: Creating a safety culture starts at the top. Organizations need to have clear and precise policies and procedures in place specific to excavation around buried Utility Infrastructure. When a strike occurs, organizations need to properly investigate and report the causes. This helps them improve their policies and procedures to ensure the safety of everyone. We work with organizations to help develop these safety policies and procedures for all involved on excavation projects and provide employees with the knowledge and tools to help them develop an appreciation for personal ownership of safe excavation.
Excavation is a term that refers to digging in the ground. When you talk about excavation are you talking about it in a much broader sense?
Grant Piraine: The term excavation does refer to digging, but specifically it is any action that moves earth below existing grade. We talk a lot about excavation activities or projects because it encompasses everyone that needs to understand the complex Utility Infrastructure Locate process to reduce risk. This include engineering, consulting firms, municipalities, utility owners, drillers, and excavators. Every person and organization involved on a excavation project has a definitive role to play to ensure safe excavation.
What are your goals or vision for OYS?
Grant Piraine: Our Philosophy is Own Your Safety, which is the cornerstone of everything we do, design, and develop. We believe that safety is a shared responsibility that starts with each person OWNING their safety.
We are dedicated to providing our clients the training and knowledge needed to ensure that safety is the foundation of everything they do on the job, so everyone arrives home safe.
We Believe in Challenging Conventional Workplace Safety Cultures and Training. We Believe In Safety Differently - OWN Your Safety!