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) 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
- It transferred enforcement authority from the Department of Labor & Industry to the PA Public Utility 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 timeframes for excavators to re-notify facility owners regarding unmarked or mismarked lines, and timeframes 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; continued the exemption for minor routine road maintenance; and removed the requirement to provide lists to the recorder of deeds
Our development goals are for increased participation by all underground facility owner/operators, project owners, designers and excavators, and elimination of all legislative exemptions.
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 1972, Pennsylvania One Call System has increased its membership from 6 utilities in one county to over 3,660 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 1,037,463 notifications in 2019, and dropping to 991,975 in 2020, due to impact from the global pandemic.
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, fax, XML, or Webview. 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. Members with internal GIS or CAD systems can upload their shapefiles into the system. 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.
Coordinate PA is the project and coordination tool for utility and public works project planning and coordination within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Coordinate PA was developed by Pennsylvania 811, is web based, and easy to use. It provides a spatial, map-based look at underground utility and public works projects to help identify opportunities for coordination and collaboration when projects overlap in space and overlap in time. Planning is the first step in effective damage prevention efforts. From within the Coordinate PA portal, the next two steps in damage prevention can be initiated:
Design notifications.The Design Drawing Exchange portal, launched in early 2012, to allow designers to electronically share geo-registered pdfs with member facility owners, saving time, paper, and postage, has been augmented with the Coordinate PA functionality. With a new release, the Drawing Exchange portal is now located in Coordinate PA.
Complex Projects require meetings between excavators, the project owner, and facility owners to communicate and reach agreement on phases of the excavation and a locate schedule. Coordinate PA is the mechanism to use for defining a project, requesting a complex project pre-construction meeting, creating phases, adding meeting participant contact information, uploading meeting notes and other documents, and creating routine excavation tickets.If the routine tickets are created from the project, all tickets associated with the project are referenced to the project number, tying all related documentation together.
Education and Public Awareness are a critical part of the service we provide. Educational programs, Act 287 compliance training, and Safety presentations are offered targeting facility owners, designers, excavators, and locators.
The Education Department had to cancel all of its 2020 Safety Day events. However, the Education team held several “virtual” events to fill the Safety Day void. There was a National 811 Day webcast that was attended by 129 people. This event was done virtually on WebEx and also streamed live on Facebook.
A new educational web event called Liaison Library was rolled out in 2020. The Liaison Library Series launched its first webcast in October with 87 attendees and the second in November with 90 attendees. These monthly virtual programs are designed to provide our members education and training on a variety of topics associated with underground safety, planning, designing and excavation.
Topics covered via virtual events:
- Complex Projects
- Coordinate PA
- Excavator and Designer Web Access
- Facility Owner Member Web Access
- Member Mapping
- PA Act 287 for the Project Owner
- PA Act 287 for the Designer & Project Owner
- PA Act 287 for the Excavator
- PA Act 287 for the Locator
- One Call Web Products and Services
- Web Ticket Entry
- Web Ticket Response
In 2020, the Education Department training and meetings reached 14,028 stakeholders who attended over 702 education events across the Commonwealth.
And, a successful Virtual Safety Day was held on April 21, 2021. The Education Team was joined by industry safety training partners including OSHA, PennDOT LTAP, United Rentals, and Paradigm. Over 1,000 people registered for the event and approximately 681 attendees participated via the Zoom Platform.
Educational videos are published and available on our website at www.pa1call.org/videos.
We strongly believe that early utility coordination is an important component of damage prevention, and devote resources to starting, building, contributing and maintaining thirty (30) active Utility Coordination Committees (UCC) throughout the Commonwealth. These committees also provide the Liaison an opportunity to educate the committee members on POCS’s products and services, and new developments with POCS’s ticket management applications. In 2020, there were 1,016 attendees at 76 UCC meetings throughout the state.
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; billboards; radio ads, sports related advertising with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and we leverage joint awareness efforts through partnerships with our members at minor league baseball games, the Penn FC Football Club, and 811 Popper Ads.
Our grassroots efforts include: public awareness programs to promote safe digging practices within local communities across Pennsylvania through Gas Station TV ads, an OTT Video Everywhere campaign, and a Digital Marketing Plan with Entercom targeting specific consumers based on their characteristics, behavior, lifestyle, demographics, and interests; a Geo-Fencing digital banner ad campaign targeted equipment rental stores and landscaping, engineering and construction companies, as well as 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.
To promote the 811 brand, POCS uses the National Excavator Initiative (NEI) campaign materials. This material is published to our social media channels. Pennsylvania 811 promotes the national statistics for damage to buried utilities, how to notify 811, a reminder to call 811 or submit a request online, and happy safe holiday wishes.
We support the CGA national 811 awareness efforts in conjunction with other one call centers and stakeholders, by participating in jockey sponsorships for national horse races.
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 (including an owner or operator associated with Conventional oil and gas wells and a facility owner representative of a pipeline associated with Unconventional oil and gas wells), Municipal, Pipeline, Telecommunications, Telephone, Water, Cable Television, Associate, Contractor, Designer, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Transportation. William G. Kiger, is the President and 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. The excavator fees are used to offset the cost of membership for municipalities and municipal authorities, to offset certain company operational costs, and to partially fund the PUC enforcement effort.