Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal
Gold Shovel Standard, a non-profit association created for the purpose of expanding the Gold Shovel Standard program, announced March 23 that PG&E, Xcel Energy, Kinder Morgan and Dominion Virginia Power have joined together as foundational members to further develop and promote the use of Gold Shovel Standard in North America.
Gold Shovel Standard is a first-of-its-kind, two-part excavation safety program. Gold Shovel Standard both certifies an excavator’s policies and procedures against the Gold Shovel Standard, and publishes a score or rating, known as an EICO™ score, which is an ongoing measure of an excavator’s excavation-safety-worthiness. It is a novel and ambitious program on a North American scale to dramatically reduce damages from excavation to buried asset networks.
Sometimes referred to as Experience Mod for Excavation Safety, the program is actively engaging insurance carriers to begin relying on the performance data when setting insurance rates of excavators. Similarly, EICO scores are a valuable tool available to municipalities and telecom companies in reducing the frequency of damage to their buried assets.
Participation in Gold Shovel Standard requires a commitment by operators, line locators, excavators and others to work together to develop a meaningful certification and rating process, using input from the infrastructure owners, insurance companies and excavators. Member companies are committed to begin a journey toward exclusively using contractors (excavators and locators) certified in the Gold Shovel Standard.
This is an ambitious program on a North American scale, which relies on collaboration between owners of buried infrastructure to achieve our goal of dramatically reducing excavation related damages,’ said John Higgins, vice president, Gas Transmission and Distribution Operations for PG&E and chairman Gold Shovel Standard board.
Joining Higgins on the Gold Shovel Standard board of directors are: Luke Litteken, area vice president for Gas Operations for Xcel Energy, and Michael Catt, Natural Gas Pipelines Operations vice president for Kinder Morgan.
PG&E requires all excavation contractors to be Gold Shovel Standard certified. As part of their membership, Xcel Energy, Dominion and Kinder Morgan will begin a migration toward requiring all of their excavation contractors to become Gold Shovel Standard certified.
“The Common Ground Alliance stands 100% behind any effort that enhances safety and reduces dig-ins to underground utility lines,” said Bob Kipp, president of The Common Ground Alliance, a member-driven association dedicated to ensuring public safety, environmental protection, and the integrity of services by promoting effective damage prevention practices. “We support the worthwhile efforts of the Gold Shovel Standard.”