Gold Shovel Standard® - Things to Know

Gold Shovel Standard® Certification

Gold Shovel Standard® is a fairly new contractor certification service. This service is specifically targeted towards excavators.  niche with this service though is it is targeted towards excavators. Gold Shovel Standard® has a hefty aim of reducing damages on professional excavation sites by 50% where Gold Shovel Standard® companies are used.

What is The Gold Shovel Standard®?

Gold Shovel Standard® is a single uniform standard for excavation safety. Gold Shovel Standard® is taking the charge of migrating from minimum requirements to best practices and model programs. Contractors who are certified through this program are required to adopt a policy to only use subcontractors who are Gold Shovel Standard® certified as well. This is a good push towards their goal of reducing damages on sites.

The organization is set up as a not-for-profit association. Transparency in policy making and application is a foundational tenant of the Gold Shovel Standard® (GSS) program. It is time to go above the minimum for dig-in prevention.

How Do I Become Gold Shovel Standard Certified?

If you have been requested by your client to get certification from Gold Shovel Standard® there are a few requirements that must be met within your organization. The main component of this process is developing a compliant “dig-in prevention” program that meets the requirements set forth in Gold Shovel Standard®. Key Components of this program are:

  • Annual basic awareness training for all workers on jobs with excavation
  • Whistleblower and stop work authority for workers
  • Policy that all excavation sites will have a valid and not-expired one call ticket physically present on the site
  • Policy that all one-call tickets will be renewed prior to the expiration
  • Policy to properly expose (pot-hole) all utilities within the tolerance zone surrounding a locator’s marks
  • Policy to stop excavation in the area and request a re-mark if a utility cannot be found as marked
  • Policy to stop excavation in the area and request a re-mark if an unmarked or mismarked utility is found
  • Policy to maintain the location marks, and stop excavation if the marks are no longer visible
  • Policy to hire Gold Shovel Standard® subcontractors with few exceptions
  • Thorough investigation procedure to be used in the event of an incident
  • Corrective action procedure with root cause analysis

In addition to this program, you will have to submit a company and state-specific training program that meets the components listed here and some other key concepts within the Gold Standard Program. You will also be required to submit a corrective action plan as well as an incident investigation procedure.

Once all of these documents are submitted within your account and you have paid your membership fee their team will review them.. It typically takes a week for this process to be completed. Once the review is complete and approved, you will then be listed as “Active'' within the system. You can now do work for clients that require a Gold Shovel Standard Certification.

What Does the GSS Certification Cost?

The current annual fee for municipalities is $1500 and $2400 for private entities. If membership fees present a hardship, Gold Shovel Standard may waive them upon receipt of a hardship waiver. Learn more about the cost and fees associated with Gold Shovel Standard®.

What are the Benefits of Gold Shovel Standard®

Gold Shovel Standard® provides two very basic services that fill a gap met nowhere else:

  • A third-party confirmation of an in-place Safety Management System (SMS) for the protection of buried assets, a role served nowhere else
  • An ambitious effort driven by industry (including contractors and locators) to create fair and transparent metrics for damage prevention similar to other safety metrics (LTIR, EMR, TRIR, DART, etc.), a gap filled by no other program

Gold Shovel Standard® certification will provide a boost to participating organizations, as the certification demonstrates a recognition of continued learning, quality safety procedures, adherence to Federal and State laws, and investment in Best Practices. Gold Shovel Standard® certification enhances reputation by illustrating a commitment to damage prevention and ensures confidence and peace of mind among buried asset owners and program participants.

Where Can I Get Help with Certification?

You may be thinking you do not have time to create a custom program to meet all requirements for the Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) and put together a training program in addition to that. Industrial Compliance and Safety can assist your company in putting all of those items together. Each plan has to be specific to your state’s digging regulations such as tolerance zones and ticket expiration.

We can help put this program and training plan together so your company can easily implement it to achieve Gold Shovel Standard® Certification. In addition, we will also provide all the needed documents you may be missing such as an incident investigation program and how to implement corrective actions.

*updated 8/4/2022 with new information


Ready To Get Compliant with Gold Shovel Standard®?
Call (800) 500-6301 or complete the form below!

How to Get Gold Shovel Standard® Certified: