We all love to read statistics: how many jobs are
out there, what is the best-selling vehicle this
year, even how many babies were born last year?
The Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) is a recording tool
for statistics. It records how many incidents happened during excavations,
how many power line contacts happened and, most importantly,
it records what the root cause was from your organization’s
perspective. Here are some statistics about DIRT.
DIRT is a free, secure web application that was launched in
2003 that anonymously collects data about excavation incidents
that could have – or did lead to – damaged underground facilities.
Everyone who excavates has the ability to register and report incidents
and near misses – there is no requirement to be a member
of the Saskatchewan Common Ground Alliance or the Canadian
Common Ground Alliance to make a report.
On average, 33 buried lines are damaged daily in Canada. Eighty
per cent of damages caused a service disruption from power or gas
outages due to emergency systems not being accessible. Damage to
buried utilities costs Canadians $1 billion every year; this is a shocking
amount when calling for a line locate is free and 99 per cent of
damage is avoided with a line locate.
The data is collected and then used to produce the annual DIRT
analysis and recommendations report. There is also a report for
Western Canada that only includes incidents reported in the western
provinces. The report then goes back to the stakeholders and is
used to identify commonalities such as root cause, type of equipment
used, when incidents most commonly occur and the type of
work being performed. This information can then be used for safety
meetings, toolbox meetings, tailgates and training to prevent future
incidents and reduce the number of overall incidents.
This report is also vitally important in building new best practices
and training programs by identifying national trends. It is useful for
SASKATCHEWAN COMMON GROUND ALLIANCE
individual companies to compare how they are doing against others
in their area and industry, and to build new safety measures. The information
generated can then be used for the reporting company’s
own internal reporting system.
The process for DIRT reporting is streamlined – the tools used
are automated transfer tools making the whole process of reporting
all incidents take less than an hour per year for most organizations.
Data can be submitted anytime. However, data from the previous year
must be submitted by March 31 to be included in the annual report.
Remember all submissions are held anonymously, and staff is
available to help companies establish a DIRT account. A damage
report form is provided that includes details on what information
There are many organizations across Canada using DIRT, but until
100 per cent is reached, a portion of the national data story will
not be told; don’t let that be your organization. Submitting to DIRT
is the best way to ensure that your voice is heard.
Sally Cain is the executive director of the Saskatchewan Common
Ground Alliance. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For
more information on DIRT, please visit www.cga-dirt.com.
SMUKI / 123RF STOCK PHOTO
BY SALLY CAIN, SASKATCHEWAN
COMMON GROUND ALLIANCE
Give Us Your DIRT!
Damage information reporting tool
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 3 2018 | Think BIG 41