Letter to Utility Operators, Excavators and Locators regarding COVID-19

View PDF of Letter

Utility Operators, Excavators, Locators:

The Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) through its contractor, One Call Concepts,
continues to operate the 811 call center to support essential excavation work throughout the
state. The call center remains open and fully function. The OUNC does not expect its members
or excavators will see any change in level of service from Oregon 811.
In addition, Oregon’s “Dig Law” remains in effect. Excavators and Utility Operators are still
expected to fulfill their obligations under OAR 952.

OAR 952-001-0070 paragraph (2), was incorporated into the rules published in January 1, 2019
so that excavators and locators can work together to make sure marks are on the ground prior
to excavation. While it wasn’t specifically intended for the specific situation that we all face
today, it is a tool that is available. Operators or their contract locators may want to review this
part of the rule if they are having difficulty keeping up with locate ticket demand due to
staffing shortfalls from COVID-19.

Likewise, excavators, can also reach out to the utilities listed on their tickets to make sure they
can stay on schedule. OUNC encourages all its members and utility
operators/locators/excavators to use this relatively new part of the rules to manage work load
and compliance during this unprecedented time.

Communication between utility operators, locators, and excavators has also been an important
part of the “Dig Safely” and “Call Before You Dig” initiatives. It is imperative, now more than
ever, to maintain good communication between all parties to keep those working in the field
safe and to avoid damages to buried infrastructure.

Be safe and take care of yourself, your co-workers, and family and friends.

Scott Gallegos
OUNC Chair