ABOUT THE GOLD SHOVEL STANDARD SOLUTION
The Gold Shovel Standard solution is designed for easy access and a low barrier of adoption. At its most fundamental level, GSS provides two services to fill gaps met nowhere else:
- A third-party confirmation of a baseline Safety Management System (SMS) for the protection of buried assets, a role served nowhere else
- An ambitious effort driven by industry (including contractors and locators) to create fair and transparent metrics for damage prevention similar to other safety metrics (LTIR, EMR, TRIR, DART, etc.), a gap filled by no other program.
GSS provides certification to entities that demonstrate adequate safety policies and procedures specifically for damage prevention.
To achieve GSS certification, an excavator’s policies and procedures must include the following:
- Annual basic awareness training for all affected workers
- Whistleblower and stop-work authority for workers
- Adherence to CGA Best Practices 13.0 guidelines, specifically Chapter 5
- A policy to hire Gold Shovel Standard subcontractors (with few exceptions)
- Thorough investigation procedure to be used in the event of an incident
- Corrective action procedure with root cause analysis
- To continue participation in the program, an excavator must agree to:
- Report all damages (which are in-turn uploaded into the DIRT database)
- Share limited information about the volume and scale of their excavation business to normalize metrics
GSS is already a permanent fixture in much of North America, but not a finished product. GSS is actively soliciting the involvement of all stakeholders (especially the contractor organizations) who are committed to the program vision and mission.
About GSS Training
Participants agree to provide basic awareness training, or supplement other safety training with basic awareness training to all workers who are present on a job with excavation responsibilities, including any new hires, and preserve records of the most recent training. This includes all field laborers, supervisors, and other workers who work alongside until excavation is complete, but excludes administrative workers without field responsibilities, casual employee visitors, inspectors not associated with excavation, etc. The training is intended as a narrow, basic excavation awareness training or a narrow supplement as part of other safety training participants may offer. While not a requirement of the program, many participants may choose to also provide a more in-depth level of excavation training to workers with supervisory roles.
About GSS Reporting and DIRT Integration
To maintain certification, participants are required to have an internal program for investigating and reporting (to management) all damages to any buried infrastructure (gas, electric, water, sewer, telecom, etc.) directly following any incident. GSS certification further requires that all participants supply to GSS the following general information within 5 days of the incident: (1) that a damage occurred (2) the date and (3) the approximate or general location, with more complete information input as details become available.
GSS is linked to CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) software, and will submit information to CGA DIRT — no double reporting is required. DIRT was developed and established as the long-awaited repository of data that helps identify the root cause of incidents that occur as a result in breakdowns in the one call process.
Excavators are likely the most under-represented stakeholder in DIRT reporting. Few contractors report damages to DIRT, while many asset owners and contract locators participate in DIRT reporting. GSS underscores and strengthens the volume and fidelity of DIRT reporting with its requirement that all GSS certification-holders report all damages. This drive to adhere to CGA-recommended Best Practices is a powerful tool to better measure excavators that are in accord with industry recommendations.