****811 Is Prohibited From Promoting Products****

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!