Cross BoreIndustry representatives from utilities, construction companies, manufacturers, industry associations, inspection companies and service providers recently came together to work toward the common goal of improving the safety of utility workers and the general public.

Their combined efforts led to the development and release of the Cross Bore Safety Association’s (CBSA) “Leading Practices for Cross Bore Risk Reduction” guidelines, which serve to help illustrate how to improve safety by reducing – and hopefully eliminating – intersecting utility lines that cause millions of dollars in damage, as well as threaten utility workers and the people they serve.

“Our utility services have found a comfortable home in the ground delivering these lifelines of services to our doorsteps that operate under a unique infrastructure that comes and goes in many directions,” said AEM Technical and Safety Services Manager William “Bernie” Bernhard, a member of the CBSA committee. 

“The challenge is these lines and the workers servicing these lines cannot always see each other and accidents happen,” continued Bernhard. “That’s why it’s so critical for AEM members to share the message that safety is the key ingredient in keeping these workers, the general public and the utility industry out of harm’s way.”

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“The Leading Practices for Cross Bore Risk Reduction” guidelines are a valuable resource for cross bore investigations, to help reduce new cross bores, as well as to eliminate existing cross bores. The guidelines encourage the use of tools, processes and quality control methods to ensure safety and high-quality results, as well as promote the benefits of a complete process for all stakeholders to employ in securing a safer industry.

“The guidelines offer guidance, processes, information and suggestions that everyone can adopt and utilize,” he added.

Included are:

  • Opportunities to Minimize Cross Bore Risk and Impacts
  • Regulatory Safety Improvements
  • Risk Reduction Goals
  • Risk Reduction Projects
  • Risk Reduction Inspections
  • New Construction Projects, Inspections
  • Data Preservation, Accessibility and Security
  • Quality Control and Quality Assurance (QCQA)
  • Project Metrics
  • Public Outreach
  • System Access
  • Robotic and CCTV Inspections
  • Vacuum Excavation and Daylighting
  • Ground Penetrating Radar
  • Emerging Tools and Technology
  • Locating and Tracking
  • Proximity Determinations
  • Cleanout Installation
  • Owner/Occupant Notifications
  • Records Retention

“The intent of this document is to provide a more detailed instructive guidance than is currently available, but not to be prescriptive. Its purpose is to serve as a resource for natural gas contractors, subcontractors, utility owners and service providers in reducing the risk of utility damage by any entity in the vicinity of an underground utility,” said Bernhard.

“We strongly encourage all utility contractors and stakeholders to use this guide and to follow local regulatory requirements, including contacting 811 Call Before You Dig,” said Bernhard.

For more information on the CBSA’s recently released cross bore reduction guidelines, contact AEM’s William “Bernie” Bernhard at wbernhard@aem.org.

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