April Is National Safe Digging Month

Lynn Staggs
T. 918.590.7173

Did you know that every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged? All because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

April marks the eighth annual National Safe Digging Month, which serves as a reminder to always call 811 before any digging project. National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support of nearly every governor across the country.

By marking the area, homeowners and contractors know where they may safely dig and avoid striking a single line that can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators then are sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

As a service provider, Verizon does its part when others dig by accurately marking lines within the designated timeframe. We train on safe digging practices, outfit our fleet vehicles with 811 bumper stickers, as well as distribute hats, gloves and other promotional items with the 811 logo to Verizon field operations personnel and excavators, locators, municipal employees and right-of-way providers with which Verizon works.

“Verizon is part of a larger group of companies with underground infrastructure that strongly encourages individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Kevin Service, senior vice president, network operations and a board member of the Common Ground Alliance. “We know the depth of utility lines varies for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.”

Verizon is a member of the Common Ground Alliance, which was established in 2005 by the Federal Communications Commission to prevent the unintentional strikes of underground utility lines while digging.

Each state has its own notification periods, so check your state’s one-call center website or visit www.call811.com for more information about digging safely.