Contractors in the area got a lesson along with their breakfast this morning as the Saskatchewan Common Ground Alliance (SCGA) put on their annual Contractor's Safety Breakfast. This year they focused on identifying and marking lines well before the shovel hits the dirt.
"We do it every year," explained Sally Cain, Executive Director for SCGA, "and we do it this year is 23 locations across the province. Some are running breakfasts today in other locations, I'm going to the Weyburn one tomorrow as is our board member, James Cameron and some of the workers here. The workers are all volunteers, they work for our member companies and mostly for the companies that support the breakfast."
"It's a two-fold message, obviously the first is to work safe. Don't hit a line, don't get into trouble, don't interrupt services, those kinds of things. But the second one is don't damage the infrastructure. It costs billions of dollars every year to repair infrastructure but it also costs billions of dollars when someone loses a life."
"The biggest dangers facing contractors today is hitting lines that are not mapped or marked or located by our one call centre."
"Simply by calling Sask 1st Call, getting the lines located, finding out the mapping of the area, they can go online and do this. There's an app that they can on to and it can actually show where they're working and Sask 2st Call can send out locators to make sure that the lines are where they are supposed to be."
She also outlined the White Lining Program which outlines the area where work is to be done.
"You take four white flags, you mark out the area where you're going to be actually digging in and then you use white paint in the summer, black in the winter. You mark the lines in between those flags so the locator when he comes out doesn't spend a lot of time looking in areas that aren't pertinent to your work area. They want to just be able to hone in and do a really good job in the area that you're actually going to be working in."
She added that the safety breakfasts will continue to spread their message of safety first and hopefully strengthen the legislation surrounding safety.
"We have a mandate for safety in the province. The Bill S229 is going to make an incredible difference if we get it through our legislation. It will mean that everyone who owns infrastructure will be required to subscribe to a one-call centre and it will also require those who are digging to actually make a phone call to that one- call centre and have everything marked. That will reduce our accidents substantially."
"Currently, 43% of the accidents in Canada have not been prior called, so they have not been located. It stands to reason that if we can cut 43% of our accidents down, we're going to reduce our costs by billions too."