Southern California Gas Co. today announced it is joining the Gold Shovel Standard, a first-of-its-kind safety program developed to increase the bar for excavation safety performance and lower the more than 2,000 dig-ins that occur annually throughout the company’s 20,000-square-mile service area.
“The safety of our employees, customers, and communities we serve is our top priority,” said Gina Orozco-Mejia, vice president of gas operations for SoCalGas. “As the largest natural gas distribution utility in the nation, we hope our participation will make a significant positive impact by encouraging contractors to adopt industry best practices for excavation safety.”
The Gold Shovel Standard is a nonprofit organization that fills an industry gap by offering third-party confirmation of baseline safety management systems to protect underground utilities, and provide fair and transparent metrics for damage prevention. It is is the first North American-wide standard measurement system to enable pipeline owners to incorporate how carefully a company excavates around underground infrastructure into their vendor selection process, allowing them to reward those companies that demonstrate exemplary caution with their business. Gold Shovel Standard certified excavators have a demonstrated commitment to high safety standards and continued training in industry best practices. To date, 750 organizations have created a complete safety management program for damage prevention.
“The program gives customers peace of mind. They can go online to check a contractor’s GSS certification when making hiring decisions,” said David Mauerman, an administrator for Gold Shovel Standard.
Contractors performing excavation work for SoCalGas must register in the nonprofit Gold Shovel Standard program by March 31 and be GSS-certified by July 31, 2017 to be eligible for future SoCalGas contracts.