When penetrating the ground or concrete structures, there are many unknowns that could cause damage to people and equipment. From underground utilities and voids to the reinforcing steel and conduits in concrete, there are a number of potential problems you could encounter from the unknowns.
Whether you’re working in a big city or a rural area, chances are there’s a utility line closer than you think. There are over 20 million miles of underground utilities in the United States. Out of those 20 million miles, one utility line is damaged every six minutes due to digging. Hitting an underground utility can compromise people’s safety, disconnect them from critical services and delay/add cost to the project just to name a few. A 20-year study conducted by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) showed that utility hits resulted in $1.7 billion in property damage 1,906 injuries and 402 deaths. Whether you’re digging, coring or directional boring you have the potential to hit unknown’s underground. (Statistical data provided by the Common Ground Alliance CGA). People often think that if they just call 811 they are safe to dig, but that’s not the case. It is the law to call 811 before you dig, but that is just the beginning. 811 only marks out public utilities, leaving private and abandoned lines still to be found.
Voids can be caused by abandon mines, tunnels or naturally formed from erosion. They can also be created when construction projects compromise the structural integrity of underlying rock. Roads, buildings, and other types of construction may cause water to collect in certain areas and wash away the supporting rock layer (especially at low sea levels and after a heavy rainfall). There are a number of reasons you would want to locate a void, from ground support conditions to helping identify the location of a pipe burst. Voids can be particularly dangerous when heavy loads such as cranes or buildings are above them. At a refinery in the United States, voids proved to be costly. As a crane was executing a lift, the outrigger was positioned directly over a void. Without warning the void gave way, causing the outrigger to sink and the crane tipped over. This added unexpected cost, time and injuries to the job which, no one wants.
Some of the common hazards found in concrete while cutting, coring or drilling are reinforcing steel, post tension and electrical conduits. One hit can cause damage to equipment, damage to the integrity of the structure or worse yet, injuries to an employee(s).
Not knowing what’s underneath the ground or in the concrete can be critical to your project. That’s why finding the right company to do your locates is very important. A bad locate is as bad or worse as not conducting any testing beforehand.
Things you want when choosing the company to conduct a locate for your job site:
The technology and service is out there to keep your jobsite safe when digging, boring, drilling or coring. GPRS is ready to exceed your expectations!
Let’s all do our part to choose safe work over fast work.
Note: GPRS does not provide geophysical, geological, land surveying or engineering services. If you need such services, please contact an appropriate professional.