Byron Peters, Damage Prevention Specialist with ComEd, talks about best practices for safe digging around their buried cables during all phases of a planned excavation.
Byron advises contractors to utilize the best practice of calling in a design stage locate ticket during which utilities will send maps of their buried assets.
Getting ready for excavation, pre-mark with white paint only areas that you need located. Over marking can waste manpower and time and provoke residential complaints.
Walk the jobsite. ComEd gives out a readiness checklist tool to use for their COCs. Compare marks with your design stage map. If it doesn’t match up, call JULIE again to remark.
ComEd utilities are often marked with corridor markings, or H patterns. You have multiple utilities in those H patterns.
They advise using hand digging first to the depth of excavation, within the 18” tolerance zone. Use practices like chipping in gradually from outside the tolerance zone, not digging right on top of the marks. Hand digging with blunt force over cables is a big cause of damages.
Use locating techniques such as potholing and vacuum excavation to expose utilities.
Post-excavation, damages can still happen once cables are exposed.
Make sure there is no slack in cables and when backfilling have adequate fill, using hand shovels before heavy equipment.
These are a few of the recommendations for safety during all stages of excavation.