Page 6 - WV811 2023 issue 1
P. 6

Damages, Investigations
and EnforceFment
By Roger Cox President ACTS Now, Inc.
or the past twenty years, I’ve taught hundreds, if not thousands of people about the importance of a damage investigation. These folks have ranged from the excavator
to the locator, from the utility owner/operator
to the state regulator. And in light of increased scrutiny brought about as the result of enforcement, it’s never been more important to understand the importance and benefits of a thorough damage investigation.
Damages represent a failure of some kind. If, however, it’s really like my contractor friend once said, “the best you can do is you are still going to have damages and it’s nobody’s fault.” If what he said is true, then he still needs to require a damage investigation when there is a damage to prove to somebody that it was not his fault.
Prevention is a key reason for damage investigations, which leads to heightened safety. Investigating damages should have an emphasis on determining the cause. Finding fault is not as beneficial as finding facts that can lead to actions. This mentality will help illuminate prevention for the future. Knowing how a damage occurred is not enough. It is important to answer why a damage happened and recognize the different levels at which it could have been prevented and that calls for a damage investigation and analysis.
Without a proper damage investigation process the real cause of the damage may never be learned, corrections will never be implemented, and subsequent damages will follow. Often for the same poor behaviors. Merely determining the liability
for a damage is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. A serious solution to the damage problem can be expected only when there is an investigation process that goes well beyond determining who is at fault.
Some have said, “Give me one good reason I need to investigate.” I’ll give you three good reasons out of a hundred.
1. A good investigation exposes deficiencies. The deficiencies may be in the tools you’ve been given
to work with. They may be in the process you’ve developed to work. It could be in the training program you currently use. There may even be a deficiency in the quality of people you hire. If an investigation does not expose deficiencies that led to or contributed to the damage or violation, it is not a good investigation.
2. A good investigation improves worker morale.
I know... you are scratching your head. Here’s the
    4 • West Virginia 811
2023, Issue 1
Develop a plan Collect the facts Determine the cause Document

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