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Root Cause – Natural Gas v. Telecommunications

As seen previously in the report, we know that Locating Practices is the leading “known” root cause group for telecommunications and cable TV, and for natural gas it is Excavation Practices. Examining the top individual root causes for each industry provides additional granularity (note: same color code means same root cause group).

Figure 20

In Figure 20, when failure to pothole/maintain clearance and insufficient excavation root causes are combined, they exceed No Locate Request. Note that in DIRT, failure to pothole and failure to maintain clearance are separate individual root causes. Also, here Bad Map combines marked inaccurately and not marked at all.

Figure 21

In Figure 21, the Locator Error-attributed damages alone exceed the combined total of all three root causes from the Excavation Practices group. However, Locator Error here is the sum of marked inaccurately and not marked at all.

For telecommunications, the high percentage of “unknown/other” responses is a major contributor to this sector’s lower DQI score, as DIRT’s root cause field is weighted heavily in the DQI calculation.

It should be kept in mind that root causes within the Locator Error group do not always mean the locate technician is at fault. For example, an excavator may only know that the facility was not marked or marked inaccurately and therefore selected a Locator Error root cause,[1] whereas a facility operator or locating contractor would be better positioned to determine if it was a mapping, abandoned facility, or tracer wire issue. Excavators are a higher percentage of the telecommunication damage event sources.


[1] This is preferable to choosing “unknown,” because it is in the Locating root cause group.

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