Welcome Underground Safety Board!
In keeping with our evolution as the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety, we welcome the Underground Safety Board as the newest member of our family. The board, known officially as the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board, joins Energy Safety from the State Fire Marshal’s Office through Senate Bill 865 signed by the Governor in September 2020.
The Underground Safety Board and Energy Safety are now aligned, with safety as our top priority. We share a common purpose and mission, to ensure that those responsible for California’s utilities, both above and below ground, reduce risk and build sustained safety cultures.
The nine-member board will retain its official name and function as the Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board and board staff will become the Underground Infrastructure Directorate supporting the board and working alongside the Electrical Infrastructure Directorate.
Since their inception in 2017, Underground Safety Board staff have worked tirelessly to reduce the number of accidents and deaths caused by unintentional contact with underground infrastructure. Guiding the state’s education and outreach efforts (Call Before You Dig), to promote safe excavations around buried utilities, they investigate accidents to determine the cause, they set safe excavation standards, and they make certain that the state’s safe excavation laws are followed.
As I continue to say, we were born from tragedy, but we were created to provide stronger oversight of the state’s utility infrastructure —first as the Wildfire Safety Division, then as Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety, and now, with the addition of the Underground Safety Board. Together, we will continue to drive the electric and underground utilities to better understand how to mitigate and reduce risk and to fundamentally change the way they think about safety. To think smarter, to work faster, and to become as efficient and effective in every action they take to create sustainable safety cultures. All Californians are entitled to nothing less.
The work we do is important. The work we do makes a difference. I am proud of the work we have done, and I am inspired by what’s to come and all the work I know we will do. We will remain laser focused on safety, be innovative in our thought, and guided by the quality of our data.
I look forward to the Underground Safety Board joining Energy Safety, together we are making California safer, for our families, for our friends, and for our neighbors.
Caroline Thomas Jacobs