May 15, 2013
By Terry Murphy CLP

Terry MurphyStatistics show that the landscape sector is constant in the number of utility hits over the last couple of years. For the last three years, the number sits at around at 360.

One must be very careful of statistics. They can be manipulated and slanted to achieve whatever position someone is trying to support. My measurement criteria are absolute utility hits. How many did the landscape industry have compared to last year?

The hits increased in 2012 over 2011 by only one per cent. This is not really significant. But, it does tell us one thing. We are not making any major improvements, unless we can see data that says there were more locate requests in 2012 over 2011. At this time I don’t have this data, but I have requested it from Ontario One Call.

There are some special considerations in the 2012 data. Some of the key points in analyzing the data are contractors/developers accounting for 60 per cent of damages and homeowners making up for 34 per cent of all green industry damage. Another interesting statistic is that 66 per cent of all natural gas hits are from those digging without locates.

Note, near misses and false alarms are not considered in the data. The green industry includes irrigation, fencing, farming and landscaping and a new category, waterway improvements.

The current fine and repair bill for a residential gas line hit is now about $3,000; a commercial hit can cost more. If an excavator has had several previous hits without obtaining locates, prosecution under the criminal code is a real possibility. The system is tired of repeat offenders. You could not only lose your business, but one could also see jail time. Please share the word with all your employees and include the subject of locates in your safety training and tailgate sessions, because obtaining locates is just smart business for everyone.
GREEN INDUSTRY UTILITY HITS Agriculture Fencing Irrigation Landscaping Total
2012 1 389 4 364 758
2011 0 320 5 360 685
2010 0 353 3 360 716
2009 2 365 5 542 914
2008 0 339 3 393 735
2007 1 422 3 386 812
2006 11 366 3 317 697
Total 15 2,554 26 2,722 5,317

Contact Terry Murphy at with any comments or suggestions on this article.