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Root Cause – Reports from Excavators

As seen in Figure 12 (Damage Root Cause Group by Event Source),Locating Practices is the leading “known” root cause group (74%) for reports entered by excavators. Examining the top individual root causes reveals that four of the top six “known” are from the Locating Practices root cause group, with Locator Error alone over 57% (see Figure 22).[1]


[1] Locator Error and Mapping Issues combine the not marked and inaccurately marked individual root causes.

Figure 22

As discussed in the Data Overview 2021 section, Locator Error tends to be a catchall when a more specific root cause is not collected.  

To provide a sense of what excavators commonly encounter, recent root cause free-text comments submitted by excavators are included below:[1]

  • “Line was not buried as deep as it was supposed to”
  • “2 services to house and only 1 was marked”
  • “2nd line found under gas line”
  • “8' off the mark”
  • “A piece of concrete fell due to cave-in and damaged lines”
  • “Abandoned service was spotted, working facility was not at a deeper depth”
  • “Area was not marked an no providers on the one call are claiming the fiber”
  • “Backhoe came in contact with miss marked water service”
  • “Cable embedded in asphalt, unknown if utility is active or abandoned”
  • “Cables were installed only 6 inches in depth inside the asphalt”
  • “Called in second notice and still was not properly marked”
  • “Company not registered with 811”   
  • “Line was not marked”                      

[1] A comment is required if “other” is chosen as the root cause, otherwise it is optional.

Figure 23 shows the root cause groups by facility damaged for this dataset.

Figure 23

For all types of facilities damaged, Locating Practices is the leading root cause group, ranging from 62% for natural gas to 81% for sewer.

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