Your Safety is a Shared Responsibility
Hitting an underground utility line does more than interrupt utility service; it risks the safety of the person digging and the public. So whose responsibility is it to prevent a shovel or a backhoe from nicking a gas pipeline or severing an electric line?
It is everyone’s job because your safety is a shared responsibility. And it takes everyone to ensure our safety.
The person digging (excavator) is responsible for contacting 811 at least two working days, excluding weekends and state holidays, before digging.
This triggers a notice to utilities with underground facilities near your dig site that you plan to dig and they need to mark their lines.
The utilities send a locator (sometimes an employee, other times a contract locator) to mark with paint and/or flags where their underground lines are located.
The excavator must honor the marks; this means any digging within 18” of either side of the marks must be approached with extreme caution. A commercial excavator should use hand tools, a homeowner should be careful until the underground lines are exposed and you can see them.
When these steps are followed, there is less than a 1% chance that underground utility lines will be hit. When everyone does their part, the lights stay on and we’re all safer.