April is when construction starts in earnest in many areas of the country. It’s also “National Safe Digging Month.”
The April National Safe Digging Month initiative of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) encourages the underground utility industry to think safety first on the job site. The CGA is also synonymous with the 811 “Call before you dig” campaign, which brings earthmoving contractors—and even weekend warriors digging in their backyards—into the equation.
No type of excavation, big or small, should take place before underground lines and utilities are clearly marked.
Major OEMs constantly reinforce the safety message, and AEM is a big safety advocate, as well. “Safe machinery operation and job preparation saves lives, and all industry stakeholders contribute to the success of any utility excavation and/or installation,” says William Bernhard, AEM technical and safety services manager.
AEM has an Underground Utility Awareness Campaign that includes HDDs, vacuum excavators, trenchers and related underground equipment. Several AEM working committees of manufacturers helped develop campaign ideas and scope. Manufacturers also help AEM develop safety manuals, videos and other training materials.
Everyone has heard safety messages over and over, yet there’s still a need for a National Safe Digging Month and other job site safety campaigns.
Why all the reminders? Because unfortunate incidents themselves shouldn’t be the only time to shine a light on safety.
It boils down to a very simple concept articulated at the recent AEMP annual meeting during a presentation by Carl Uhinck, CEM, asphalt equipment manager for Kokosing: “The absence of an accident doesn’t mean the presence of safety.”
Think about it.