By National Grid
Did you know that, nationwide, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because of digging in an unmarked area? The risk of injury or even death is serious, and the potential costs of repair, fines and service loss are high.
April is National Safe Digging Month, and National Grid is urging the public to call 811 before doing any outside ground work. Calling 811 is the law, and it prevents serious personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electric, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities.
Dig Safely New York, the service behind 811, provides a single point of contact to notify National Grid and other utilities of planned digging, drilling or blasting. The utilities will clearly mark their buried pipes and lines prior to the start of excavation to ensure customer safety and to prevent damage. Dig Safely New York service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to receive calls regarding planned excavations. The call is simple and the service is free.
To further protect excavators, utilities and the public from the hazards associated with excavation-related accidents, effective May 4, New York state law will require any local government or operator that contracts for excavation to ensure the excavator has completed an approved training and education program.
National Grid also advises taking these precautions to protect underground energy services:
•Never permit anyone to dig near your underground energy sources.
•Do not plant trees, bushes or shrubs near buried utilities, especially electricity and natural gas.
•Never allow children to dig anywhere near underground natural gas or electricity lines.
•Protect the markers provided by Dig Safely New York so that contractors can clearly identify potential hazards.
•Once a project is complete, remove and discard any marking flags or other devices to ensure they aren’t improperly reused.