National Grid urges caution during 'National Safe Digging Month'by jmaloni
Safety of customers and communities is priority as spring projects take hold
As spring weather brings more outdoor work by individuals, contractors and excavators, National Grid offers an important safety message: Call before you dig.
Acknowledging the nationwide designation of April as "Dig Safely Month," National Grid reminds customers that a simple phone call toDig Safely New York, Inc. (by dialing 811) can prevent serious personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electric, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities.
In 2012 in upstate New York, there were 318 natural gas or electrical network incidents caused by damage to the system. These events can cause outages, natural gas leaks and other emergencies that can be prevented by taking a few precautions before digging.
"Ensuring the safety of our customers and employees, and providing reliable and uninterrupted delivery of gas service are National Grid's priorities," said Ken Daly, National Grid president for New York. "By encouraging the public to dig safely and to call before digging, we hope to minimize damage to our gas system and protect our customers."
Dig Safely New York serves as a single point of contact to notify National Grid and other participating utilities of planned digging, drilling or blasting. The utilities will clearly mark their buried facilities prior to the start of excavation to ensure customer safety and to prevent damage. State law requires contacting Dig Safely New York at least two full working days, but no more than 10 working days, prior to excavation. The service is provided free of charge.
"Every year, damages caused by excavation equipment result in hundreds of interruptions to vital utility services," said Diane Benedetto, National Grid manager for New York damage prevention. "These damages often result in road closures and evacuations, disrupting residents and businesses in our communities. Sometimes, the consequences are even more severe, including destroyed buildings, serious injuries or even fatalities. That's why it's vitally important to call before you dig."
National Grid also offers these precautions about underground energy services:
•Never permit anyone to dig near your underground energy sources.
•Do not plant trees, bushes or shrubs near a transformer door or near a natural gas line.
•Never allow children to play or dig anywhere near underground electric or natural gas lines.
In upstate New York, National Grid continues to partner with other organizations and utility companies, municipal governments and contractors to promote "The 811 Promise," a written pledge that commits to safety procedures with Dig Safely New York, a regional effort to raise awareness for safety around digging projects.