October 15, 2013
By Terry Murphy CLP

Terry MurphyHow can you bring 200 busy industry professionals together for a day of learning? You combine industry damage prevention specialists and the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA).

The first annual ORCGA Dig Safe Fall Expo, planned by the ORCGA education committee, was held on Sept. 12 at Landscape Ontario’s site in Milton. Gauged by comments from participants, the day of sharing and learning was a great success.

All volunteers and ORCGA staff were decked out in bright yellow sweaters that read, Dig Safe, which made it easy for participants to identify people with answers.

Inside were six seminars on various underground subjects such as Getting around Underground, Damage Prevention Technician Program, An Excavation Project, and Infrastructure Health and Safety (IHSA) Mobile Classroom.

Outside, under the tents, were educational exhibits with representatives from various associations, utility information, a Damage Information Reporting Tool program exercise, and some interactive games to promote health and safety concerning underground operations.

An exercise to locate underground utilities was available for those who wanted to try their hand using a locate machine. Many learned quickly that there is an art and a science to locating underground utilities.

This was the first fall educational event of its kind staged by the ORCGA. The whole purpose was to bring the industry together for a fall reminder on the importance of digging safe, getting locates before digging and understanding that it is the law in Ontario as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Because we are dealing with underground issues and mandatory involvement through the recent passage of Bill 8, in addition substantial fines and penalties for violations, the importance of education and training in underground issues is invaluable.
Please send any comments or questions on this event to Terry Murphy at tvmurphy@ca.inter.net, or Bryon Sackville, ORCGA president and CEO at Bryon@orcga.com.