Fiore & Sons Inc. (FSI) as an excavation, demolition, utility and earth moving contractor has a risk
for injury and damage from utility strikes as a part of our work. Taking the right level of care and
performing due diligence to avoid strikes, train our forces, prepare for our excavations and having
appropriately practiced response ready for inadvertent strikes is in the best interest of the company
and its employees.
Due Diligence – the process of preparing for an activity that includes planning, notification and
training before starting the task. Due diligence for working near overhead and underground utilities is
✓ Utility Locates. Call in 811COLO in advance. Have an active open ticket and know the ticket
number for your dig area.
✓ Ensure all utilities have responded. Make Second and Third Notices. If no response, then
contact office for instructions. Must have clearance from Operations Manager and Safety
Director before proceeding to plan work on “no response” tickets.
✓ Call Tier II companies. Make sure these have a positive “Ok to Dig” response.
✓ Consult project drawings.
✓ Mark excavation areas for locates (as appropriate).
✓ Refresh locates after rain and after 20 days.
✓ Have the design drawing and the existing conditions drawing available for the project.
✓ Train crew in utility locate colors, respecting minimum 18” on both sides of marks, spotter
duties, pothole procedures, no digging without locates and following the Safe Work Practice.
✓ Pothole the utilities to positively ID, know their depth, and mark the depths on lathe/stakes in
Preparation & Excavation – on the day of the excavation, having a good game plan for the work and
sharing concerns and the plan with the crew are key to success.
✓ On no response third notice tickets, must obtain clearance form Operations Manager and Safety
Director before proceeding with excavation planning.
✓ Walk the site with the design/existing conditions drawing to compare what was located to what
✓ Take a few record snapshot pictures of the area before breaking ground.
✓ Look for signs of underground utilities that were not marked or refreshed (hand holes,
manholes, pedestals, old flags/marks, vaults, poles, etc.)
✓ Hold a thorough Daily Huddle Toolbox and walk the site with the lead person and spotter.
✓ Excavate parallel to marked utilities +18” out from the marks.
✓ Utilize spotter and empower him to STOP Work if he sees an issue.
✓ Set spoils aside and not on top of utility locates.
✓ Hand dig, water jet or vacuum excavate to fully expose the utility. Do not use excavators or
backhoes to expose the utility in the trench.
✓ Support exposed utilities in trenches to avoid damaging them.
✓ Complete “FSI Excavation Daily Inspection” form to accompany your Daily Huddle Toolbox
✓ Surround with barricades, berms and signage and/or cover excavations and trenches to remain
overnight. Plan and execute work to minimize open trenches and exposed utilities overnight.
Post Utility Strike – Damage to utilities as per the law include scuffing the outer coating of gas and
electric lines, removal or penetrating outer jacket or insulation of electric and communication lines,
cracking, bending or breaking conduits regardless if service is lost. Contact with overhead lines or
release of gas from gas lines is also included as a strike.
✓Immediately, crew to secure from task and stop work. Contact foreman.
✓ If gas line punctured, electric line damaged & sparking or water main opened then call 911
emergency. Back up from task and secure area immediately. Do not enter excavation to pinch
off gas line or tape over exposed electric line.
✓ For all utility strikes call in 811Colo Damage ticket. Photograph damages and general area.
✓ Do not share on social media or send photos or videos of incident to friends, family, neighbors
or others outside of FSI. This is standard company policy. Potential discipline and legal action
✓ Take operator and spotter in for D&A testing as per incident policy for utility strikes. Do not
send them alone; must be accompanied by FSI foreman or salary employee. Utilize Post
Incident 5 Panel Quick Screen testing at clinic, Concentra or KCG.
✓ Collect witness statements from crew and operator either hand written or use online form in
✓ Complete hand written General Liability/Utility Strike Investigation form or complete online
Accident Investigation form in FSI portal.
✓ Make a hand drawn sketch of the area and damage. Include where employees & FSI equipment
were located during the strike. Do not rely on photos for this step.
✓ Include design drawing and existing condition drawings for the project with the investigation
✓ Submit all active, refresh, second & third notice, and damage 811 tickets for the work area
where the damage occurred.
✓ Wait for technicians to arrive to evaluate/repair line. Collect their business cards/names/phone
numbers. Write down what is said by utility company responders. (This is a critical step.)
✓ Forward all email or written correspondence to Ops Manager, Permit Coordinator, and Safety
✓ Take pictures of the repaired area prior to backfill or covering lines.
✓ Continue the excavation task once cleared to do so by utility company personal.
✓ Hold Safety Stand Down with involved crew and those working nearby to discuss incident.
✓ Hold incident review with senior staff/safety group
✓ Apply discipline policy for those involved as per HR Department guidance; when required.
There are many hazards to be considered when excavating, underground utilities being one of the
major hazards. Having a proactive well-thought out approach prior to digging, carrying that plan
forward with the crew are important in order to avoid underground utility strikes. Procedures need to
be in place for when issues arise during excavation and utility lines are damaged by being prepared to
respond and document a strike.