Telstra cracks down on unqualified cable locators

PEL703a Telstra cracks down on unqualified cable locators

Australia’s largest telco, Telstra, is cracking down on organisations that use staff without proper accreditation to locate its underground cables prior to excavating.

In an email sent to all accredited plant locating companies in December, Telstra said their accreditation would be permanently revoked if they were found to be using non-accredited individuals, and that their accreditation would be automatically revoked upon expiry of their current accreditation, unless they had taken steps to renew.

In an email sent to all accredited locating contractors, quoted by Trenchless Australia, Telstra said unless all individuals used to undertake location work must have completed their Dial Before You Dig competency assessments.

These assessments had been introduced by Telstra earlier and, according to one report, are much stricter than those previously used. According to a blog post on the Test Equipment web site “Contractors must now undergo both the theory and practical testing and assessment required by Dial Before You Dig. For those contractors wishing to undertake the theory testing, which is done as the first part of the process, a short two day NULCA (National Utility Locating Contractors Association) course is offered by a limited number of training organisations, which is useful to brush up on the knowledge required to undertake the theory assessment, and is also useful in that this information will also better place you to undertake the practical assessment, the second part of the Dial Before You Dig Accreditation process.”

It said there had been some misunderstanding about the new process. “The part that is least understood is what sort of equipment is required,” the blog said.

“Many contractors contact us, or drop in to our office with a cheap underground service locator, which they have managed to get hold of, but the basic fact of the matter is that it just will not comply with the required list of equipment. The most expensive thing on that list is your underground services locator, or underground utilities locator or underground cable and pipe locator – whatever name you might know it by.

“Gone are the days when you may have been able to buy any underground service locator, get signed off and be let loose as an accredited locator. The underground service locator in particular has a very strict set of requirements, and these must be adhered to strictly in order to undertake the practical assessment.’

It added: “There’s nothing worse than having the wrong equipment, having to outlay thousands of dollars to get the right underground service locator kit and then also have to be re-assessed again (at an additional cost usually) because of a decision based on cost rather than requirements.”

The blog then went into great detail as to the characteristics required of an acceptable locator.

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