NORTH JACSON – With Spring’s warmer weather, homeowners and contractors across Ohio are anxious to begin their outdoor improvement projects. Once again, April has been designated “National Safe Digging Month,” providing an opportunity to promote safe digging practices and the mandatory contacting of OHIO811, a minimum of 48 hours prior to commencing any excavation activities.
“Statistics show that every six minutes across the nation, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decides to dig without first contacting their state’s 811 notification center,” said Roger Lipscomb, Executive Director of OHIO811. “Having the location of gas lines, electric facilities, fiber optic telecommunications cables, water and sewer infrastructure marked before you dig will help avoid unnecessary risks of serious injury, property damage, and costly utility repairs. Supported by our utility and excavation industry membership, OHIO811 is available by calling 8-1-1 or using our online utility locate request process at www.OHIO811.org.”
According to a national survey by the Common Ground Alliance, some of the most popular planned outdoor projects cited among surveyed homeowners include: planting a tree or shrub, building a patio or deck, building a fence or installing a mailbox. Unfortunately, 42% of those homeowners surveyed, more than 50 million Americans, stated that they were unlikely to call 8-1-1 beforehand and by doing so, are placing themselves and their communities at grave risk. Knowing where gas, electric and other utilities cross your property will help protect your life, your property and your wallet. Please take just a few minutes to call 8-1-1 or visit www.OHIO811.org to start the safe excavation process.
Here are the main things to remember if you plan to dig:
1. Plan your outdoor digging projects in advance.
2. Ohio law requires that you call 8-1-1 or go online to OHIO811.org at least 48 hours and no more than ten days before you plan to dig. The call and online services are free. Providing an accurate address, general location and details of your project provides member utility companies with the information they need to mark their underground infrastructure.
3. Once your property has been marked with flags and / or colored paint, make sure to dig with extra care in and around the utility markings to prevent potentially harmful and costly utility damages from occurring.
4. Be cautious when you are removing soil. Utility lines can be damaged by shovels just as easily as with powered equipment. Where practical, use hand tools while digging within 18 inches of the outer edge of the underground utility line markings.
5. Pay close attention for any signs of a natural gas leak. If you smell something similar to rotten eggs, or hear hissing, whistling, or roaring, immediately, leave the area and call 9-1-1. Take the same action if you see sparking or hear crackling or otherwise think you may have damaged an electric line.
6. If you accidentally damage any utility lines, call 8-1-1 along with any other appropriate entities.