Ensuring accurate and timely locating “more important than ever.”
March 19, 2020
Alexandria, VA – In the midst of the national coronavirus pandemic, the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) is encouraging federal and state authorities to do whatever possible to ensure that Americans remain connected. A fundamental part of this lies in the damage prevention process, where excavators and facility operators share responsibility in safeguarding underground facilities during excavation projects.
As impacts coming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to grow, certain stakeholders in the State of Missouri have attempted to extend the response time required for facility locating prior to excavation from three to five days. PCCA believes this could interfere with broadband service to hospitals and other medical service facilities such as doctors’ offices and nursing homes.
“At a time when essential services provided by first responders and the medical community are paramount, responsibilities in the damage prevention process held by all stakeholders must be fulfilled,” PCCA President & CEO Tim Wagner said. “Relieving locating and marking responsibilities held by facility operators should not be allowed in Missouri or anywhere else.”
PCCA Chairman John Fluharty agrees. “PCCA promotes what we call the three pillars of damage prevention: underground facility operators must belong to their respective one-call center and ensure that facilities are located and marked accurately, excavators must call 811 before they dig, respect facility markings, and dig carefully by pothole during excavation,” he said. “Exemptions or any pardoning of these responsibilities only inject confusion in the field and inevitably compromise safety.”
PCCA expressed these sentiments in a March 18 letter to Missouri Governor Michael Parson, which stated, “when the country is ‘social distancing’ and face-to-face conversations are increasingly on hold, ensuring Americans across the country have broadband service will be a national priority. Meeting that essential responsibility during this pandemic will require facility operators in Missouri and across the country to meet their responsibilities in locating and marking their facilities, both accurately and on time.”
The Power & Communication Contractors Association represents contractors, manufacturers, and distributors who build and repair America’s power and communications infrastructure, including electric transmission, distribution, and substation facilities and broadband, telephone, and cable television systems.
For Immediate Release Contact:
Eben Wyman: (703) 750-1326