Missouri is the first state to offer free online excavation safety training in collaboration with www.diggingsafely.com.

The custom-built course for utility and other excavation personnel went online Aug. 15 at www.mo1call.com, the official Missouri One Call System Inc. (MOCS) Web site. All excavators, utilities and homeowners are encouraged to go to the Missouri site before any underground construction begins.

“We wanted to add the online option to our regular classroom sessions,” explained William E. Dexheimer, field manager for MOCS. “Excavators can complete the training at their convenience and we can score the results and keep a record of completion. The team at Midwest ENERGY Association combined our requirements with their Diggingsafely.com national excavation safety service and produced a unique Missouri course. The collaboration has been excellent. We especially like the ability to update the course and adjust it to ensure learning is effective. We wanted to add the online option to our regular classroom sessions.   

“Even though Missouri state law requires everyone to call us at 1-800-DIG-RITE or call the national 811 number, we must constantly encourage people to make the call or go to our Web site to request that underground utilities are marked prior to excavation,” continued Dexheimer.

Midwest Energy Association (MEA), a national leader in providing on-line training for utility industry field employees used its experience in creating more than 200 online courses to create the free Diggingsafely.com site where anyone interested in excavation safety can learn.

“We built the primary course at the Diggingsafely.com site,” said MEA president Patrick Van Beek, “based on the underground damage prevention best practices of the Common Ground Alliance, a national coalition of electric, gas, water, cable, telecommunications and rail companies. Don Szambelan, our chief learning officer and his team then offered to customize the course on a state by state basis. Missouri was the first to step up.

“They wanted Missouri specific information on regulations and procedures, as well as excavation safety training. Other state one call systems are interested and we look forward to working with them. Damage prevention is in everyone’s interest.”

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