April is National Safe Digging Awareness Month: Call 811 to “Know What’s Below”

Synopsis

  • Shockingly, an underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes
    nationwide because someone decided to dig without checking to see if the
    area was safe of underground utility lines.
  • Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities
    can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer
    lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.
  • If you are a homeowner, installing any type of project that requires digging,
    you are required by law to make a call to 811 in the state of Indiana.
    Hitting a line can knock out service to your home and neighborhood or
    result in fines, damage and serious injury.
  • Be sure to check with your contractor or landscaper to make sure that the
    call to 811 will be made before digging begins – whether it means
    you making the call, or your contractor doing so.
  • Make the call to 811 anytime you’re putting a shovel in the ground
    to keep yourself and your community safe. We also encourage you to share
    this post with others on your social media pages.

April is National Safe Digging Month, Call 811 Before You Dig

Every year, April is marked as National Safe Digging Month. Awareness continues
to be needed since every six minutes in the U.S. someone is digging before
they know if the spot is safe. They may be creating damage to crucial
power, water, gas, phone, and other utility lines. Not only is damage
caused to the lines, but this is a quick way to be injured and be knocked
by expensive repair costs and a potential fine since Indiana’s
“Call Before You Dig” law requires everyone who digs to contact Indiana 811 at least two full working
days before starting their outdoor project. So, whether that warm weather
project is planting a new garden, repairing a fence post, laying a new
patio, or planting that new shade tree, the best step to protecting yourself
and community against utility damage or fatal electrical injuries is by
calling 811 so you “Know What’s Below” before you start digging.

The 811 Process for Homeowners

The Federal Communications Commission has designated 811 as the national
toll-free number for all local “Call Before You Dig” phone
centers throughout the United States. 811 in Indiana took effect May 1,
2007 and is reachable toll-free from anywhere in the state. Indiana’s
“Call Before You Dig” phone center, formerly known as the
Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (IUPPS), can also be reached
toll-free at 1-800-382-5544.

It’s pretty simple of a process. Just call 811 from anywhere in the
state a few days prior to digging and your call will automatically be
routed to Indiana’s local call center. From there, you will give
the operator information about how to contact you, where you are planning
to dig and what type of work you will be doing. Your quick conversation
with the operator will last a few minutes. Once that information is collected
by 811, local utility companies who have potential facilities in the area
of your dig site will be notified about your intent to dig. Each affected
utility company will send a locator to mark the approximate location of
your underground utility lines. This typically occurs within 2-3 working
days. Here are some easy steps from 811 to follow to make the process
even more seamless. These steps can also be
shared with others to keep our important safety message going.

5 Easy Steps to Making an 811 Call

1) NOTIFY

Notify your local one-call center by calling 811 or a homeowner can make
an online request, 2-3 days before planned work begins. The one-call center
will transmit information to affected utility operators. The service is
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Indiana.

2) WAIT

Wait 2-3 days in Indiana for affected utility operators to respond to your
request. On average, between 7-8 utility operators are notified for each request.

3) CONFIRM

Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request
by comparing the marks to the list of utilities the one-call center notified.

4) RESPECT

Respect the marks. The marks provided by the affected utility operators
are your guide for the duration of your project. If you are unable to
maintain the marks during your project, or the project will continue past
your request’s expiration date please call 811 to ask for a re-mark.

5) DIG CAREFULLY

Dig carefully. If you can’t avoid digging near the marks, consider
moving your project to another part of your yard. If you must dig near
the marks or use machinery of any kind, please review the digging process
for Indiana contractors.

Never let digging work begin without the call to 811. It’s not worth
breaking the law or the hazard risk to yourself and others.

811 and Safe Digging Practices for Indiana Business Owners

In 2003, the Indiana General Assembly revised the “Call Before You
Dig” law and made it a requirement that all owners and operators
of underground facilities become a member of Indiana 811. Here are few
tips from 811 for business owners.

  • Incorporate 811 information or the
    811 logo into your existing promotional information.
  • Promote 811 in your office and on your equipment.
  • Contact your local 811 call center about receiving safe digging trainings
    for yourself and your employees at least once a year.
  • Speak to your customers about the 811 safe digging process and make sure
    they know to call even for digging projects they complete on their own.

Please continue to
spread the word about how easy it is to make the call to 811 to keep our Indiana communities
safe and connected to critical utility services.

If a Digging Incident Caused Your Injury, We Can Help

The personal injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can’t stress how important
following these directions is before you break ground of any kind and
check to make sure you aren’t going to injure yourself or others
because of buried utility lines. If you have been injured in a digging
accident, whether residential, or through an employer like a construction
company, the attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you with any type of
personal injury or
work comp digging injury claim.

We put decades of experience to work for you, and we won’t collect
any fees unless your case is settled or won. Connect with us by
submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information. If you wish to speak directly
with us, please call (888) 204-8440.