As a safety community, let’s all bring awareness to Locator Safety Awareness Week, as we take the opportunity to address the need to keep all locators safe on the job.
Locator Safety & Appreciation Week (LSAW) provides an opportunity for the industry to thank our boots-on-the-ground heroes and let them know their contributions to safe worksites and communities are valued.
Locators encounter safety hazards on a daily basis while they are doing their job to keep workers and the community safe from excavation hazards. Here are the top 10 locator safety hazards:
- Confined Space
- Threats to the Eye
- Climate and Weather
- Dog Bites
- Punctures and Foot Trauma
- Poison Ivy and Other Skin Threats
- Insect Bites and Stings
- Walking, Lifting, Bending and Squatting
- Slips, Trips and Falls
- Time on the Road
Companies of any size, in any industry, can participate in Locator Safety & Appreciation Week. We have put together a great list of ideas of how your team, your organization, your safety department or your company can promote the hazards related to utility locating.
Your Locator Safety & Appreciation Week Campaign does not have to cost a lot of money! Here are some great ways to participate to make it meaningful for your workforce:
- Take the opportunity during this week to acknowledge the locators you work with or see working in your area and let them know how much you appreciate the difficult, challenging, and sometimes dangerous work they do protecting our underground utilities.
- Promote Locator Safety & Appreciation Week on Social Media by using the hashtag #LSAW. Need some help with what to say? Feel free to use the messages provided in the LSAW Social Media Toolkit.
- Include an article about Locator Safety & Appreciation Week in your company newsletter.
- Send safety awareness cards to locators in your organization or locators that you know.
- Host a safety meeting or toolbox talk on trenching and excavation safety.
- Promote Locator Safety Awareness Week on your website with colorful web buttons.
- Make plans to attend the next CGA Excavation Safety Conference and Expo or the Global Excavation Safety Conference.
- Join the bigger conversation and support April as National Safe Digging Month.
To take your excavation safety awareness to the next level, check out the Excavation Safety Guide & Directory. This guide is the industry’s best source for articles on safe digging, written by industry professionals. In the field, the guide offers immediate access to a directory of helpful resources and information on safe excavation practices.
Put useful and life-saving information in the hands of those who are involved in the excavation process at your next meeting or event. Make sure the ground disturbers you work with are getting your message.
Did you know? Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.
When planning your Locator Safety & Appreciation Week campaign, consider these shocking statistics:
- Every 6 minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
- When you call 811, you reduce the chance of causing damage to less than 1%.
- 45% of American homeowners who plan to dig will NOT call 811 beforehand, putting themselves and their communities at risk.
- Over 68,000 utility locates are performed every day, each one by a utility locator tasked with securing the safety of excavation workers, the public, and our infrastructure.
- With approximately 19 million miles of underground utilities in the United States, locators play a key role in avoiding accidental damages.
Awareness campaigns, like Locator Safety & Appreciation Week, offer a great opportunity to safety management, business owners and supervisors to highlight the importance and commitment the organization has to worker safety. It doesn’t take a lot of time, money or resources to participate. At minimum, consider an email from management to the staff, a brief safety meeting or a sign on the central bulletin board.
If your organization does not yet have a safety meeting program in place, Locator Safety & Appreciation Week would be a great time to let your employees understand the organization’s commitment to safety by starting a regular safety meeting schedule. (Starting with excavation safety, of course!)