Red Deer conference focuses on digging safety

Inadvertently hitting underground cables and pipelines costs Alberta $275 million a year.

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An Alberta organization dedicated to worker and public safety has enlisted one of Canada’s most famous sports trophies to send its message.

The Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup made an appearance in Red Deer on Tuesday as part of the Alberta Common Ground Alliance’s annual Safety Conference.

Alliance vice-president of operations Bas Owel said it’s a fitting that as the construction industry picks up pace the CFL is also getting ready for its season.

“We believe we’re of similar mindsets,” said Owel. “They’re trying to achieve the cup. We’re trying to have zero incidents occurring, zero pipeline, zero underground infrastructure strikes.”

Not calling before you dig costs Canada over $1 billion a year in injuries, damages, delays and responses. In Alberta, digging incidents are estimated to cost $275 million.

“We’re just reaching out and spreading that safety message,” said Owel.

More than 200 delegates gathered at Sheraton Hotel Red Deer for the conference that features ground disturbance training and a keynote speaker.

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