It’s the time of year when many people, including service providers, come together to mark the month of April as National Safe Digging Month (NSDM). This year marks the eighth annual NSDM, which began as an effort to encourage all CGA (Common Ground Alliance) stakeholders to promote the safe digging message. Spring is when many homeowners and contractors begin outdoor projects, and NSDM reminds us that calling 811 before any digging project is a safe and easy way to avoid damaging your underground utility lines, which can lead to damages, outages, and more importantly, injuries or death.
Although most people have heard the importance of calling 811 before digging, there are a lot of things about the initiative that many are unaware of. Here are some of the basics and key points regarding 811:
- This is a free service available across the US.
- Every state is different, so be sure to find out what the laws are in the state that you are working in, most are within the 18-24 inches range.
- You can notify your state’s 811 center by calling 811 or making an online request.
- Notify the call center 2-3 days before work begins.
- When calling 811, you’ll be connected to their local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig.
- Once notified, professional locators are sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint, or both.
Remember, whether you live or work in a remote rural area or in a busy metro, underground utilities are always present, and the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
At Hylan, we take safety seriously, and we train our employees on safe digging practices and protocol. In 2021, Hylan’s Western Utility was recognized for its outstanding leadership by hosting almost 2,500 hours training with almost 350 hours of training focused on underground damage prevention. Additionally, Western Utility led the excavator community in the City of Chicago with only eight damages per one thousand qualified dig tickets throughout the entire calendar year of 2020.
National Safe Digging Month is a great reminder to dig safely, but don’t forget that safe digging is important all year. Always make sure you know what’s below the ground before conducting any digging or excavation and that every project, big or small, warrants a call to 811.
Discover how Hylan is building their workforce from the ground up with training in safety and all aspects of the utility construction industry with our innovative Hylan Academy.