As warmer weather brings more construction activity, there’s a new enforcement process for the requirement to “call 811 before you dig.” Senate Bill 378 created a new enforcement process that took effect on January 1, 2016. Commercial excavators, utility operators, designers and developers who fail to follow safe digging practices may be subject to penalties and fines.
While the requirement to call 811 at least two days before digging has been in place for many years, there has been no enforcement process – until now.
Damage to underground lines by unsafe digging is the number one safety threat to utility systems and it puts the public in danger.
In 2015 alone, unsafe digging resulted in more than 1,200 safety incidents in the Columbia Gas service area. These incidents occurred because those digging either did not call 811 beforehand or practiced unsafe digging methods.
“Columbia Gas of Ohio’s number one priority is keeping customers, employees and communities safe,” said Dan Creekmur, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio. “In every community in the state, we work to be sure everyone knows how important it is to call 811 before you dig.”
Everyone who digs is required to call 811 to have utility lines located and marked. By law, a call should be placed at least two business days prior to digging. There is no cost to call 811 and have utility lines marked.
Excavators, contractors and other professionals interested in participating in a natural gas safety presentation can contact their local Columbia Gas of Ohio Damage Prevention Coordinator or visit columbiagasohio.com/811.
For more information on enforcement of underground damage prevention laws, please visit The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at puco.ohio.gov. For more information on natural gas safety, safe digging practices, or Columbia Gas of Ohio, visit columbiagasohio.com.