Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has joined the Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) program, a first-of-its-kind safety program created to raise the bar for excavation safety performance and reduce dig-ins.
According to SoCalGas, there are more than 2,000 dig-ins that occur each year throughout the company’s 20,000-square-mile service area.
“The safety of our employees, customers, and communities we serve is our top priority,” said Gina Orozco-Mejia, vice president of gas operations for SoCalGas. “As the largest natural gas distribution utility in the nation, we hope our participation will make a significant positive impact by encouraging contractors to adopt industry best practices for excavation safety.”
For several years SoCalGas has encouraged contractors and homeowners to call 811 before digging, and participated in education and outreach events to promote safe digging. The Gold Shovel Standard will take safety to a higher level.
Contractors performing excavation work for SoCalGas will be required to register in the non-profit GSS program by March 31 and be GSS-certified by July 31, 2017 to be eligible for future SoCalGas contracts.
The GSS is a nonprofit organization that fills an industry gap by providing third-party confirmation of baseline safety management systems to protect underground utilities, and provide fair and transparent metrics for damage prevention. GSS certified excavators have a demonstrated commitment to high safety standards and continued training in industry best practices. To date, 750 organizations have created a complete safety management program for damage prevention.
GSS is the first North American-wide standard measurement system to allow owners of buried infrastructure to incorporate how carefully a company excavates around buried infrastructure into their vendor selection process, allowing them to reward those companies that demonstrate exemplary caution with their business.
“The program gives customers peace of mind. They can go online to check a contractor’s GSS certification when making hiring decisions,” said David Mauerman, an administrator for GSS.
For more information about GSS contact the Gold Shovel Standard Customer Service Team at 855-676-7252 or visit goldshovelstandard.com.