Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) (6) Pennsylvania corporation created to help protect the underground facilities of members through communication with any person(s) planning to disturb the earth. This communication network receives and processes underground line location requests from excavators, contractors, plumbers, builders, designers, and the general public; and disseminates this work location information to all members based on their service agreements. The principal place of business is located at 925 Irwin Run Rd., West Mifflin, PA 15122. The backup site for business continuity is the Ohio Utilities Protection Service in Youngstown, OH.
The Company's Mission
Our purpose is to prevent damage to underground facilities. To promote safety, we provide an efficient and effective communications network among project owners, designers, excavators, and facility owners.
The Company's Vision
Pennsylvania One Call: The Keystone of Damage Prevention
We are a service company dedicated to minimizing utility service interruptions, reducing on-the-job injuries and deaths, promoting a higher level of public safety and protecting the environment.
Since its inception in 1968, Pennsylvania One Call System has increased its membership from 6 utilities in one county to 3,557 underground facility owner/operators in all 67 counties from the following industries: cable television, electric, gas, propane, Marcellus shale, pipeline, sewer, telecommunications, telephone, water and government, including state, county, city, borough, townships of the 1st class, townships of the 2nd class, and municipal authorities. Members also include private master meter companies, manufactured housing communities, and private entities, such as schools, hospitals, manufacturing sites, and others owning underground facilities which cross public roads.
The organization incorporated 4/6/1978.
Use of the service increased from 389 work location requests the first year reaching a record breaking 812,682 notifications in 2016. As of 6/30/17, year to date ticket notifications are up 6.22% over the same period last year, reaching 425,354.
The company can be reached using the national call before you dig number of 8-1-1 or through its toll free telephone number 800-242-1776 by anyone requesting location of underground lines prior to digging. The service is available 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Information is obtained from the person planning or scheduling excavation or demolition. In addition to phoning the call center, users with credentials that have taken the Web Ticket Entry training may enter their dig notices via our website www.paonecall.org . The collected data is referred to as a Work Location Request, ‘Dig Notice’ or ‘Ticket’. After creation of a dig notice, a ticket confirmation, which is a copy of the ticket, is sent to users and to callers who provide their email address or fax number. The emailed ticket confirmation includes a hyperlink to the map graphic of the work site.
Whether the notice information is gathered by phone or entered via the web, it is disseminated to underground facility owner/operators via email, data modem, or fax. Facility owners have the option to request voice relay to their emergency personnel outside normal business hours when requested. Additionally, for emergency tickets, facility owners may request to receive a text notification when an emergency ticket is sent to their designated receiving email address. The system accepts automated responses from facility operators and relays them to the excavator or designer through our KARL system.
Members are required to “register” their underground facility locations by providing us with a list of municipalities in which their lines are located. An additional electronic “member mapping” service is offered, which allows members to define polygonal notification areas, with adjustable buffers, to reduce the number of non-involved dig notices they receive. This saves members time and money, as they do not need to research or respond to dig notices outside their mapped service territory. Persons reporting planned excavation also benefit from our electronic mapping as they can draw a polygon to delineate the proposed excavation area, notifying only the members within the drawn polygon.
Design notifications are the first step in effective damage prevention efforts. The Design Drawing Exchange portal was launched in early 2012 to allow designers to electronically share geo-registered pdfs with member facility owners, saving time, paper, and postage.
Complex Projects are processed via the Pre-Construction Meeting Request portal, used to coordinate meetings between excavators and facility owners, track project scope, attendees and the agreed upon locate schedules. Launching Web Ticket Entry from the PCMR portal automatically references the Meeting Request Number, tying all related documentation together.
Education and Public Awareness are a critical part of the service we provide. Educational programs are offered targeting facility owners, designers, excavators, and locators. Safety presentations are available to all stakeholder groups including first responders. These presentations are a major focus at our five regional Safety Days, where keynote speakers, such as Cliff Meidl, Brad Livingston, and Eric Giguere have shared their personal stories of injury and recovery, and encourage others to avoid short cuts when performing excavation work.
We heighten public awareness through social media via Facebook and Twitter; our attendance at trade shows and safety conferences; homeowner outreach via postcards and surrounding neighbor postcards; print ads; radio ads’ sports related advertising with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and we leverage joint awareness efforts through partnerships with our members at the Wilkes Barre-Scranton RailRiders, the Altoona Curve, and other minor league baseball entities.
Our grassroots efforts include: public awareness outreach to our state officials, i.e., Senate, House, Governor, County Commissioners, and local government entities, who in turn give us proclamations to support our efforts and the communication service; the banner program outreach program where our member facility owners are involved promoting safe digging on our behalf; and the Fire House outreach program where first responders promote safe digging within their communities. Other media used includes: Pandora, Multiview, and a sidewalk billboard campaign in Center City Philadelphia.
We support the national 811 awareness efforts through jockey sponsorship, having past successes with Victor Espinoza, the 2015 Triple Crown winner; Junior Alvarado and Mike Smith who wore the 811 logo in the 2016 Kentucky Derby; 2016 Preakness Stakes winner Kent Desormeaux; and most recently in the 2017 Preakness, where Julien Leparoux finished second while wearing the 811 message.
Development to Date
One Call was created as a sub-committee of the Pittsburgh Public Service Coordinating Committee in 1968. Operations were established in September 1972 and the service covered 6 utilities serving Allegheny County in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
- The organization incorporated 4/6/1978.
- In April 1975, Act 287 (1974) went into effect requiring excavators to call before digging, and expanded the service area to 11 counties. At that time, in honor of the 1776 United States Bicentennial, the toll free number 800-242-1776 was added as an additional way to reach the call center, and coverage included the 33 counties of Western Pennsylvania. Expansion continued across the Commonwealth in 1977, adding Central Pennsylvania in a merger with JUNE (Joint Utility Notification for Excavators) and the Southeastern counties were added in September 1977.
Having established the ‘Call Before You Dig’ concept in the state, the Pennsylvania One Call System and the contractor associations sought passage of legislation mandating participation by all underground facility owner/operators.
- Enactment of Act 172 (1986) brought major growth and clearly established the need for a full time staff to coordinate member services and perform the duties of the corporation.
- Enactment of Act 38 (1991) placed new responsibilities on engineers, architects, contractors, facility owners and municipalities.
- Enactment of Act 187 (1996) brought about change in the composition and structure of the Board of Directors and provided for greater enforcement abilities involving the PA Department of Labor & Industry (Department).
- At the Department’s request, Act 199 (2004) provided the Department greater enforcement authority and redefined the administrative fines and penalties.
- Enactment of Act 181 (2006) incorporated Subsurface Utility Engineering requirements, began requiring adherence to CGA Best Practices and HDD Good Practices by reference, defined responsibilities of a project owner and a complex project, gave the Board of Directors the ability to define the maximum area of a notification and included other factors concerning the operation of the System.
- Act 121 (2008) re-inserted the “good Samaritan” clause which allows facility owners to identify the location of underground lines on private property which they do not own as a helpful guide to excavators without assuming liability for their efforts.
- A four year legislative effort continues as we attempt to transfer enforcement responsibilities from the Department of Labor & Industry to the PA Public Utility Commission and eliminate all exemptions.
- A one year extension of the existing Act was passed on 11/24/2016, which extended the sunset date by 1 year to 12/31/2017.
- 2017 Legislative Activity:
- Senate Bill 242 was passed unanimously on 6/21/2017
- House Bill 284 is currently being held in the House Consumer Affairs Committee
Pennsylvania One Call System serves all 67 counties and employs over 80 people.
Our development goals are for increased participation by all underground facility owner/operators, project owners, designers and excavators, and elimination of all legislative exemptions.
Legal Status and Ownership
Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and registered as a non-profit corporation under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. A 36 member Board of Directors representing each underground facility industry, including board seats for contractors, designers, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Departments of Labor and Industry and Transportation governs it. The President & Executive Director, William G. Kiger, is the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation.
Funding of the company has come from notification service fees to members. Increased revenues from growth are used to offset operating expenses. A lesser amount comes from collection of excavator fees which are used to offset the cost of membership for municipalities and municipal authorities. A portion of the excavator fee will be used to fund PUC enforcement effort once the legislation passes.