The eighth annual CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference and Expo proved that the underground construction industry is serious about safety. The event was held March 12-14 in West Palm Beach, Fla., and drew more than 1,800 people from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Peru and other countries.
The event featured a variety of educational sessions, keynote speakers, workshops, outdoor demonstrations and committee meetings.
“No other conference brings together in one place as many suppliers, users, technology and ideas about damage prevention as the annual CGA Conference,” said attendee Dona Harrington-Burns, of Colonial Pipeline Co. “It is the preeminent source for damage prevention information.”
Multiple organizations chose to hold key meetings in conjunction with the CGA event, including the American Petroleum Institute (API), the National Utility Locate Contractors Association (NULCA), the Crossbore Safety Association and the Canadian Common Ground Alliance. PHMSA also held a one day public forum on One Call Law Exemptions at the same location. In addition, a group of people met informally to discuss forming an International Damage Prevention Committee.
The conference featured the first ever International Locate Technology Summit, hosted by NULCA, consisting of sessions, workshops, a hands-on outdoor GPR demonstration by various manufacturers and other special events. Two special events that drew a great deal of attention during the conference were the New Locating Technology Forum and the Underground Safety Summit: Locating in 2020.
Six manufacturers took advantage of the opportunity of presenting at the New Locating Technology Forum, including Vivax-Metrotech, 3M Locating and Marking, SubSurface Instruments, McLaughlin Group Inc., Sensit Technologies and Radiodetection. Each new piece of equipment addressed specific problems with current locator models, such as locating PVC and plastic pipe, indicating the direction a frequency is flowing and picking up multiple frequencies with different modes.
The Underground Safety Summit: Locating in 2020, sponsored by One Call Concepts Inc. and Asplundh One-Call Inc., featured a panel of industry experts who discussed the future of locating. Panelists included hosts Jim Holzer, One Call Concepts, and Steve Rieben, Asplundh One-Call, as well as Greg Ampey, SMUD; Les Cook, NULCA Australia; Corey Willson, 3M Co.; Tim Seelig, USIC Locating Services Inc.; Dennis Tarosky, Utiliquest; and Dave Smith, Vivax-Metrotech Corp.
The CGA presented a number of awards at the conference. Tom Hoff, president and CEO of One Call Concepts (OCC), received the President’s Award for being a champion of damage prevention throughout his 50 years in the industry. Additionally, Don Heyer received the Hall of Fame Award, given to a CGA member that has served in the organization over a long period of time and whose impact has left its mark in a positive and memorable way; and Dan Maschka received the Ron Olitsky Award, given to the CGA member whose dedication and service to CGA went above and beyond the call of duty throughout the year.