July 26, 2017
Call 811 Before You Dig
It was a summer day in 2016 when a backhoe operator working in Oklahoma hit the pipeline.
Hired by a private landowner, the contractor was moving dirt to be hauled to another site. But as it scooped up the soil, the backhoe’s toothed bucket repeatedly struck a buried Phillips 66 petroleum pipeline, leaving 30 feet of dented and gouged steel in its wake.
Fortunately, this line was not transporting anything at the time of the incident—sparing the worker from the potentially life-threatening consequences of striking a working pipeline. Still, the event resulted in hours of contractor downtime and over $50,000 in repair costs.
All of it could have been prevented with a simple call to 811.
When you are planning to dig 12 inches or deeper, underground utility operators—including pipeline companies—can mark the location of their lines so you can work safely around them. Calling 811 is a fast, easy way to request this service from all operators in your area at the same time, and in most cases it’s the law.
Here’s how this simple process works:
- Anytime you are planning to dig, call 811 and you will be connected with your local One-Call center, where a representative will take down some basic information about your project.
- The One-Call center will notify all underground utility operators in the area of your plans, saving you the time and effort of contacting these companies individually.
- Professional locators from these utility companies will locate and mark their underground lines (allow two to three business days depending on state law).
- When you start your project, work and dig carefully around the marks, following any additonal guidelines the professional locators may have shared with you.
Having buried pipelines and other utilities located before digging leads to a damage-free project over 99 percent of the time, according to industry studies—making a call to 811 one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and those around you while you’re working.
Whether you’re a professional excavator, a farmer or a homeowner with a small backyard project, if you’re digging down 12 inches or deeper, 811 is for you. Always remember to “Call Before You Dig.” It’s fast, it’s simple, and it could save your life.