Washington enacted its Underground Utilities Act, or “Call Before You Dig” law, in 1984, and since then each state has enacted similar laws that require excavators to call the 811 utility-locate hotline before digging to have all utilities located and marked.
April is National Safe Digging month, designed to communicate the importance of safe digging practices – including calling 811 – to help prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. To recognize Safe Digging Month, the Common Ground Alliance is providing a logo business owners can use on their websites.
Safe digging practices include:
- Call 811 before you dig to have underground utilities located and marked.
- Use appropriate techniques when digging near utilities. Appropriate digging methods may include: hand digging, soft digging, vacuum excavation methods and pneumatic hand tools.
- Immediately report scrapes, dents or other damage to utilities operators.
- Know the signs of a leak and what to do. If you see, hear or smell signs of a utilities leak immediately leave the area in an upwind direction. Warn others to stay away and contact 911 from a safe distance.
- Use a pre-excavation checklist before every project.
For more information, refer to the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices Guide.