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National Grid urges caution during 'National Safe Digging Month'

by jmaloni


Fri, Apr 24th 2015 09:50 am

Safety of customers and communities is priority as spring projects take hold

Spring weather brings more outdoor work by individuals, contractors and excavators. It also brings an important safety message from National Grid: Call before you dig!

Acknowledging the nationwide designation of April as "Dig Safely Month," National Grid reminds customers a simple phone call to Dig Safely New York (by dialing 811) can prevent serious personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electricity, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities.

New York supports the goals of reminding excavators and contractors that state law requires them to call if they will be breaking, disturbing or removing earth near underground facilities. Last week Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a proclamation declaring April as "Safe Digging Month."

In 2014, in upstate New York, there were 294 natural gas or electrical network incidents caused by damage to the system. These events can cause natural gas leaks, electrical outages and other emergencies that can be prevented by taking a few precautions before digging.

"National Grid's No. 1 priority is to ensure the safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve," said Ken Daly, National Grid president of New York. "With spring finally here and more outdoor activities and construction projects on the way, National Grid encourages customers to 'call before you dig!' By encouraging the public to call before digging and to dig safely, we hope to minimize damage to our gas and electricity system, protect our customers, and to continue to provide reliable and uninterrupted energy delivery service."

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, before excavation. The service is provided free of charge. Visit http://bcove.me/2jj1uovo to view a short video on the importance of calling 8-1-1.

"Damage to vital utility services by excavation equipment results in hundreds of interruptions each year," said Diane Benedetto, National Grid manager for New York damage prevention. "These incidents cause road closures and evacuations, and disrupt 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 is critically important to call 8-1-1 before you dig, to get all utilities marked and subsequently practice safe excavation techniques."

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.

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