May 15, 2017
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyThe 2016 DIRT Report (Damage Information Reporting Tool) is hot off the press and I have taken the opportunity to summarize and comment on some of the key data for the landscape and fencing industries. There are a lot of numbers to deal with, however, you will have this when you are dealing with statistics. Let me give you some definitions so you know what the terms mean and how we are comparing the data.

Hits: The number of events or damages to an underground utility.

Locate requests: A call to ON1CALL requesting locates for a property.

Notifications: The number of different utilities that exist on a particular property that have to be located. In other words, one locate request to ON1CALL may generate notification requests to five or six different utilities to give markings for their underground utility lines or pipes on that property.

Each utility on that property provides an opportunity for an excavating contractor to create a hit. Every utility hit in Ontario is investigated by the Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA) and the utility affected fills out a damage information report which is submitted to DIRT. In this way, we have a solid tracking system for all utility hits in Ontario. Below are the results of that information for 2013 to 2016.
TABLE 1: PROVINCE OF ONTARIO 2013 2014 2015 2016
Hits 5,006 3,872 4,474 4,486
Notifications per 1,000 4,395 5,603 6,543 6,561
Hits per 1,000 notifications 1.14 0.69 0.68 0.68
The overall industry has leveled off and is at 0.68 hits per 1,000 notifications. This shows the overall damage prevention activities and work of the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) is effective. Yes, there is always opportunity for improvement, and the rating of 0.68 hits per 1,000 notifications has been the same now for three years and I believe this is because of the tireless efforts of the ORCGA and its members and geographic councils for advertising and promoting damage prevention. I give the Province of Ontario an A- rating.
TABLE 2: GREEN INDUSTRY 2013 2014 2015 2016
Hits 791 557 677 777
Notifications per 1,000 848 1,063 1,348 1,492
Hits per 1,000 notifications 0.93 0.52 0.50 0.52
The green industry is represented by the following sectors: landscaping, fencing, irrigation. agriculture and waterways. The two sectors of landscaping and fencing constitutes approximately 97 percent of the green industry, so I will report on these two sectors individually. The green industry totals have been pretty much the same over the last three years and closely follow the provincial trend. Hits per 1,000 notifications have leveled off and has been consistent in the last three years at 0.52 hits per 1,000 notifications. I give the green industry an A- rating.
TABLE 3: LANDSCAPING INDUSTRY 2013 2014 2015 2016
Hits 334 259 313 347
Notifications per 1,000 593 752 987 1,126
Hits per 1,000 notifications 0.65 0.35 0.32 0.31
The landscape industry continues to improve and the hits per 1,000 notifications have consistently been reduced. One important point to mention is that even though the actual hits have been going up (not good news), the number of notifications has gone up in the same proportion which means the key ratio number continues to improve. I give the landscape industry an A rating.

The fencing industry shows a negative trend and needs attention. The hits per 1,000 notifications has been rising quickly over the last three years. Hits are growing faster than the number of notifications. The key statistic of 1.15 hits per 1,000 notifications is more than 3.5 times the landscape sector number and almost double the provincial number of 0.68. I give the fencing industry a D rating.
TABLE 4: FENCING INDUSTRY 2013 2014 2015 2016
Hits 424 258 352 419
Notifications per 1,000 256 313 362 365
Hits per 1,000 notifications 1.66 0.82 0.97 1.15


The annual DIRT Report gives us a chance to sit back and analyze our performance over the last four years. The numbers tell their own story. These industry numbers are like analyzing the financial performance of an excavating company. They measure the performance of our damage prevention industry and our sectors. They tell us how we are doing and also that there are areas of our business we can improve upon. Thank you to ORCGA DIRT Report coordinator, Jennifer Parent, and to the DIRT Committee led by co-chairs Richard Durrer and Brandon Denton of ON1CALL for their efforts this year in getting the report out in a very timely fashion.

All members of the ORCGA have been sent a copy of the 2016 DIRT Report (a $30 value), which is included free of charge as an ORCGA member benefit.
Terry Murphy may be reached at with any comments, suggestions, or questions.