The Gold Shovel Standard

The Gold Shovel Standard certification is awarded to professional excavators exhibiting an exceptional dig-in safety performance at a significantly higher level than is typically required.

Empire HDD prides itself as one of California's top horizontal directional drilling companies.

Gold Shovel Standard is a non-profit association, chartered with expanding the use of Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) as a single, uniform platform across North America. GSS aims to be universally accepted for all excavation contractors to perform safely, every single time they work. The GSS program is built upon two equally important foundations: an administrative side and a performance-monitoring engine. The administrative side of the program requires that an excavation company have an adequate damage prevention policy consisting of training, commitment to follow applicable laws, leadership support, corrective action procedures, and whistle blower safeguards for employees.

Purpose-built technology is integral to the GSS program. The performance-monitoring engine employs technology created specifically for GSS to archive and reveal the safety performance records of excavators across networks (gas, electrical, sewer, water, telecom, etc.) and across geographic boundaries (e.g., out of state). Contained within the technology, is monitoring to ensure that incidents are reported and taken through their life cycle and to ensure that corrective action procedures are actually followed. Additionally, the technology is designed to interface electronically with Common Ground Alliance (CGA) databases (DIRT), and with popular vendor management programs, such as ISN, to offer easy adoption by companies already using those systems.

Pacific Gas and Electric conceived of and is implementing the GSS program throughout its operations.

Starting January 1st, 2016, PG&E is hiring exclusively GSS excavators. Implementation of the program at PG&E has generated significant learning and intellectual capital, all of which is being freely shared with industry. Furthermore, PG&E has recruited an external partner exclusively contracted to administer the program and providing the performance monitoring technology, purpose-built for the Gold Shovel Standard program.

Today, virtually anyone can perform excavation services, regardless of competency or commitment to safety. In the very near future, to work as an excavation company, one will have to be Gold Shovel Standard certified, which ensures a genuine commitment to safe excavation—regardless of when, where, or for whom the work occurs.

Gold Shovel Standard program’s goal is to reduce dig-ins from professional excavators by 50% from existing levels prior to adoption of Gold Shovel Standard.