Don’t Take Out the Shovel or Start Up Digging Machinery Until You Call 811
By Jane George, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities
Do you intend to plant trees, shrubs or flower beds in your yard or start up a backyard construction project in the near future? If so, be sure to call 811 before you start!
Make the call, for your safety and the safety of others.
Everyone should make the 811 call before any digging project. It costs you nothing, it’s simple and it doesn’t take much time. Plus, it may help prevent a serious injury and costly damages to underground utilities like power or water lines.
Each year, there are about 6,000 reports of underground utilities being struck in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. And every year, PPL receives reports of about 60 to 75 digging incidents in which the person doing the digging failed to call 811.
What’s more, it’s the law. In Pennsylvania, you’re required to place an 811 call three business days before any digging that is done by power equipment like Bobcats, front-end loaders, power augers, rototillers, and aerators. PPL Electric Utilities recommends that you place a call before any digging project, even if it’s with an old-fashioned shovel.
Once you place the call, a crew will come out and use spray paint, flags or other identifiers to show areas where underground utilities exist. And if you notice a digging project going on in your neighborhood and are unsure whether an 811 call was placed in advance, make the call just to be sure.
When you make an 811 call, you should know and provide the following:
- County and municipality in which the planned dig is located.
- The street name and address.
- The nearest intersecting/cross street to the address.
- Details of the dig site, including the area of the property where excavation will occur and what kind of work is being done.
- When the project is scheduled to take place.
- The name of the company doing the work (if applicable).
Underground utility marking colors
Here’s what various colors of paint, flags and markings signify in Pennsylvania, which follows the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices for Temporary Marking.
For more safety information from PPL visit www.pplelectric.com/safety. And for more about the Call Before You Dig law, visit www.pa811.org.