DAMAGE PREVENTION Stopping underground facility damages before an incident or explosion. Responding to underground utility damages Establish Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) for damage prevention.
Objective: • Prevent excavators who do not have a mark-out request from excavating until the underground facilities are marked. • Respond to underground utility facility damages
Verify the mark-out request • The underground facilities should be marked in the area where the excavating is occurring with the appropriate paint, flags and or stakes according to the law (Underground facility Protection Act).
Verify valid mark-out request • When excavation activity is observed: • Large construction equipment • Post hole diggers • Hand excavation including planting trees / shrubs • Or any other type of excavation • Observe if paint or colored flags are marking the underground facilities in the area of excavation • If not, inquire with the excavator if they have a valid mark-out request and what their request number is. • The request number is 9-digits long with the first two numbers representing the year (example: 050321010) • If there are no marks & the excavator does not have a mark-out request, have the excavator stop excavating.
No valid request • Have the excavator stop excavating immediately. • Notify the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities OneCall Enforcement group, OSHA, or your local utility. • BPU contact number 973.667.3204 • OSHA • Essex, Hudson, Morris, Sussex (973) 263-1003 • Bergen, Passaic (201) 288-1700 • Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset,Union, Warren (732) 750-3270 • Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem (856) 757-5181
Failing to have a mark-out request • Can result in death, injuries, and / or property damage. The picture below was the result of an excavator failing to request that underground facilities be marked. Three people were killed.
Failing to have a mark-out for the work area • You may find an excavator working beyond the area they requested to be marked. This can also result in death, injuries & property damage.
You can prevent underground facility damages • Your action to stop illegal excavations that endanger public safety can prevent serious incidents from occurring.
Protect the Public • Establish damage prevention SOPs for police, building & parking inspectors, fire department • For additional information call NJ Board of Public Utilities One-Call Enforcement Group. • For the law or a copy of the Underground Facility Protection Act • NJSA 48:2-73 through NJSA 48:2-91 • NJAC14:2-1.1 through NJAC 14:2-6.4 • OSHA Federal Regulation 1926.651 (go to: “http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/wwwroot/serviceeval/handbook.pdf” )
If gas facilities are damaged: • Contact the gas company immediately • Secure the area – evacuate as needed • Check near-by buildings & be alert to multiple gas leaks. multiple gas leaks: • (possibly where the gas facilities were struck & / or pulled and broken inside near-by buildings) • Eliminate sources of ignition • (shut off equipment-if it can be done safely, divert traffic, no flares,no smoking) • Stay upwind of leaking gas & away from manholes, underground vaults, & sewer grates
If gas facilities are damaged: • Remember the properties of natural gas: • Lighter than air & will rise • Natural gas is colorless, odorless, & flammable • Flammable range of natural gas is 5-15 % in air • An odorant is added to natural gas • Do not try to extinguish a natural gas fire unless it is an immediate hazard to life & remember that the gas may re-ignite or explode • Evacuate the area as required • Always investigate for multiple leaks even if the gas is burning. • Coordinate with the gas company especially when venting. • Report all damage to gas facilities including damage to pipe coatings to the gas company.
If electric facilities are damaged: • Contact the electric company immediately • Secure the area • Be alert to energized wires, construction equipment, & other metal objects : • (the ground near the damage may also become energized) • Stay away from manholes & underground vaults. • Damaged underground transformers contain oil that can result in a BLEVE. • Do Not enter manholes or underground vaults • Coordinate with the electric company
If electric facilities are damaged: • There are two general types of underground electrical systems: • Direct burial underground distribution (BUD) • Transformers are above ground & electric cable is installed directly in the ground • Network & radial underground distribution • Transformers are underground in vaults & electric cables are in conduit. • Report all damage to electric facilities including damage to cable coatings to the electric company.
Conclusion • Establish SOPs for damage prevention and responding to damaged utility facilities • Coordinate with utility companies • Ensure police on traffic control at construction sites know the SOPs • Conduct periodic training and refresher training. • Actively enforce damage prevention