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Monday, January 21, 2013

Current Practices vs Effective Means

Throughout the country, MUUDS markers have been identified as an effective tool for safety, identification and location; however, there are always the stalwarts opposed to change, as in any industry, who insist that the current practice works just fine.  To a certain extent, we would agree, but not entirely.  The practice used today to identify underground utilities, is far better than what was used 20 years ago inasmuch as ground penetrating radar (GPR), sonar and the like are effective tools for locating.  There is a significant drawback to surface marking that makes the practice ineffective.

GPR offers an approximate location both vertically and horizontally that creates awareness to the presence of a buried utility; however, the drawback is that surface markings disappear as soon as excavation begins.  The argument made in favor of current practices is that once they know the depth based on electronic readings, workers can excavate and continually check as they get closer to the line.  The argument against this practice is that far too often, workers in the field do not follow this practice, making it more effective in theory than application.

MUUDS works uniquely in that they are the only depth marker that is installed WITH the utility and therefor is an accurate measurement when a utility is unearthed.  Furthermore, with a MUUDS marker in the field, workers don't need to repeatedly enter the trench to measure and probe for a utility line.  An excavator can get within a safe distance and probe when they are close BEFORE hitting the line.  This is a significant difference in approach and far more safe for workers in the field.

The current practices argument is interesting because while the number of incidents for damage may have decreased over the years, utility lines continue to get hit on a regular basis, approximately one per minute, which for any worker, utility owner, municipality or construction company, continues to be far too often.  Current practices in theory, do not remove the human error component because electronic devices do not provide a physical pathway to a buried utility.  MUUDS stay with the operator and provide more accurate and valuable information in the field than surface marking while removing the excuse of not knowing how deep the utility really was.

It's not that the current practice is bad... it's that we can always do better and when it comes to safety, we should always strive to protect workers in the field to the greatest degree possible.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MUUDS and more!

One of the greatest attributes of MUUDS markers is their simplicity.   They are a passive marker that identifies the depth of a utility and offers operators a guide to avoid damage to utilities.  The focus of the device was to offer a reliable and uniform system for all utilities.

Nationwide, the markers have attracted attention from different utility providers and the benefits the marker offers.  In addition to attracting the attention of utility providers, we have also welcomed the attention of ancillary devices that have the potential to compliment and augment MUUDS.

Of note, there are two different devices we are exploring opportunities with and pairing them with MUUDS.  One is a bar code tag that has been developed to mark utilities.  There are a number of benefits to such a device for buried utility lines, with one major drawback... when attached to the utility line, the line still nees to be discovered, without damaged, before the tag can be read.  Pairing this type of device with a MUUDS marker offers utility providers and municipalities to provide additional information in the field that is not typically available.  For instance, in a subdivision, MUUDS can be extending above ground to identify the location of water, sewer and gas lines.  Bar code tags can be attached to the markers and include information including when it was installed, the size of the line, who installed it, etc.  While this information is typically available on as-built drawings or in a file in the building department, this offers easily retrievable information when and where it is needed without a concern for finding the information in an office that may see frequent turnover.

The other device we are exploring is a bit more unique, interesting and more proprietary.  It is an audible motion sensor that sends an alert when someone gets close.  It can be programed to offer specific information invaluable in the field.  For example, the sensor can be programmed to say, "Warning, 1" gas line buried below, contact local 811 before digging." or whatever the provider prefers.

The benefits of pairing the two devices with MUUDS markers are obvious.  The more information provided in the field, the more likely we can avoid unnecessary damage and injury.  We can never cure the human condition and its propensity for breaking the rules, but we can strive to minimize hazards and make the work place safer with simple, cost effective tools.  MUUDS markers and the potential for the complementary devices provide a pound of cure, with an ounce of prevention!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Strategic Partnership for Excellence

When it comes to precision instruments or units of measure, there is no room for error when making a product.  Internationally, there is no country that is better at making tools for measurement and scientifically precise, than the United States.

MUUDS is proud to have developed a strategic partnership with an international leader in measuring devices.  Our markers are hot stamped using a process in which stamps are designed and heat treated and the measurement is exact.  Duplicating this process with a level of accuracy is unpredictable outside of the US, which other companies have discovered over the years, resulting in the need to bring products back home and manufacture them here.

Our business relationships have been developed to ensure that the product we make offers our customers the highest level of assurance that the measurement is accurate and reliable.  The process in which our markers are made is internationally unique and our markers can only be found here in the United States.  We have teamed up with one of the foremost manufacturers in the world of measuring devices whose products are found throughout the United States, from Mexico to Vietnam and around the world.  We are proud to have built a trusted relationship that enables us to provide a product of unequalled excellence.

MUUDS Markers are truly a product that has been American Inspired, American designed and American Made... with international appeal!

Innovative Technology for Agricultural Excavators

According to the CGA, almost half of the people who dig this year will put their community at risk and do so without contacting an 811 call center.  An underground utility line is damaged in this country once every three minutes and a full third of those incidents are because there was no effort to locate the utility lines.  MUUDS markers help avoid that costly damage on public and private property alike whether a call is made or not.  While calling for a location is legally required in most states, failure to do so remains a common practice and MUUDS markers help avoid the high cost of not locating by avoiding damage and personal injury. MUUDS, helping to save lives, money and down time!

Despite all of the high tech advances in recent years for underground utility locating, there remains a high rate of damage to utility lines because the marking of those lines fails to identify the depth.  A majority of contractors in South Dakota, believe that simply marking the locations, will not inherently decrease the incident rate because the depth of a utility is still unknown.  Current methods pose a problem for farmers or agricultural property owners because markers are above ground and still do not identify the depth, plus they are a visual and physical nuisance.

MUUDS Utility markers addresses BOTH of these problems and aid in utility marking, WITHOUT being a problem in their day to day activities.  MUUDS markers help save agricultural excavators money by helping to avoid costly damage to utility lines, while remaining buried so mowing is not a problem and the markers can not be damaged by livestock or farm equipment.

MUUDS markers are ideally suited for agricultural purposes to protect underground lines for the increasing use of wind turbines and solar panels, septic lines, irrigation lines and buried electrical lines powering high tech feed and fertilizer systems.  According to Purdue University, the major problem with avoiding costly damage to utility lines is that drawings or records are not maintained, lost or reference points are removed like buildings or trees.  MUUDS markers position and ability to be discovered do not change over the years and approximate location is always sufficient to lead to the depth marker to avoid damage or locate the utility.

As operations expand on a site, MUUDS are a convenient way to minimize the exploration to add to exisiting lines from their termination point and uniquely identify the vertical tolerance zone that no other product on the market identifies.  Our patented system gives agricultural excavators and anyone digging all the information they need to avoid damage, save money and work efficiently and safely.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Resident's Basement Floods from a Water Line Hit


NOT marking the vertical tolerance of a water line caused an accidental hit which, in turn, caused a resident's basement to flood.  This is a common because the VERTICAL TOLERANCE is not marked.  A Utility Depth Marker provides the exact measurement of the vertical tolerance and prevents this type of damage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dangers Facing Construction Workers

The Dangers Facing Excavation Construction Workers

Construction is a dangerous industry. While all construction workers have difficult and potentially dangerous jobs, some specific types of construction work are particularly dangerous. For example, trenching and excavation are particularly dangerous jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the fatality rate for excavation workers is 112% higher than that for general construction workers.*

What Dangers Do Excavation Workers Face?

There are many dangers that face excavation workers who are working in trenches. Some of the dangers include*:
  • Cave ins. If the trench collapses with construction workers inside it, the results can be catastrophic.
  • Asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen in a confined space. Trenches may not be properly ventilated, and workers may not have proper equipment to get them the fresh air that they need to breathe.
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes. Toxic substances that are found underground and in the construction industry can quickly become fatal in the confined, unventilated areas of a trench.
  • Drowning. If water is in the trench and rises faster than workers can get out, drowning can occur.
  • Electrocution. When utilities are used underground, the danger of electrocution exists.
  • Explosions. When equipment is used either underground or above ground close to the trench site, an explosion can occur that causes a cave in or other injury to the excavation workers.