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 North Jackson, 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 3,587 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 888,523 notifications in 2017. As of 6/30/18, year to date ticket notifications are up 12% over the same period last year, reaching 474,382.
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 passed 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. Electronic “member mapping” service became a requirement for all members beginning in 2018. It 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 Coordinate PA and require meetings between excavators, the project owner, and facility owners to communicate phases of the excavation and agree to a locate schedule. The complex project portal provides the mechanism for requesting a pre-construction meeting, defining phases, adding meeting participant contact information, and uploading meeting minutes and other documents. Launching Web Ticket Entry from the complex project portal automatically references the Complex Project 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. In 2018, the keynote speakers are Bill Kiger, POCS CEO, and Paul Metro from the PA PUC, who review changes in the newly enacted legislation.
We heighten public awareness through social media via Facebook and Twitter; our attendance at trade shows and safety conferences; homeowner outreach via 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, other minor league baseball entities, the Penn FC Football Club, and 811 Popper Ads in the Harrisburg Patriot News.
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 ads, Facebook promoted posts, Facebook advertisements, and a sidewalk billboard campaign in the Philadelphia area.
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 Julien Leparoux in the 2017 Preakness. In 2018, the 811 message was worn and visible in the Kentucky Derby on Victor Espinosa, Drayden Van Dyke and Jose Lezcano, and in the Preakness on Florent Geroux.
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.
- Enactment of Act 172 (1986) mandated participation by facility owners bringing about major growth, clearly establishing 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; and required regulated utilities to maintain records of abandoned facilities.
- Act 121 (2008) re-inserted the “good Samaritan” clause which allows facility owners to identify the location of underground lines not owned by the facility owner, on private property, as a helpful guide to excavators, without assuming liability for their efforts.
- Act 50 (2017) was signed into law by Governor Wolf on October 30, 2017 and became effective on April 28, 2018.
- Transferred enforcement authority from the Department of Labor & Industry to the PA Public Utilities Commission (Commission), established a Damage Prevention Committee; added reporting obligations and deadlines, through the one call system, for project owners, facility owners, designers and excavators; mandated all facility owners participate in the member mapping service; modified the structure of the Board of Directors; added the ability for facility owners to declare tickets as complex projects; defined time frames for excavators to re-notify facility owners regarding unmarked or mis-marked lines, and time frames for facility owners to respond to those re-notifies; clarified responsibilities for Subsurface Utility Engineering; extended the requirement of maintaining records of abandoned lines to all facility owners; modified some factors concerning the operation of the System, including requiring an annual financial audit; requires the one call system to fund part of the enforcement effort; requires excavators and designers to pay the annual fee; continued exemptions for mining, construction of well pads and operations incidental to the extraction of oil or natural gas, added exemptions for stripper well lines; and removed the requirement to provide lists to the recorder of deeds.
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 35 member Board of Directors governs the organization. The composition of the Board includes representation from the following industries: Electric, Gas, Municipal, Pipe Line, Telecommunications, Telephone, Water, Cable Television, Associate, Contractor, Designer, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and the Department Transportation. William G. Kiger, is the President & 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 is used to fund PUC enforcement effort.