April is National Safe Digging Month, and this April the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America is focusing on raising awareness within the agricultural and ranching community about the importance of contacting 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, to ensure that buried utility lines and pipelines are marked.
Accidental dig-ins of underground utilities and pipelines can happen to anyone – from a highway worker to a homeowner installing a deck. But research shows that farmers and ranchers have some of the highest rates of accidental hits, and these accidents can lead to injury or even death.
Underground lines can be less than 12 inches below the surface due to topsoil removal, erosion and weather. It’s important for farmers and ranchers to never assume the location or depth of underground lines. They should always call or click 811 or contact the pipeline or utility line operator to discuss their project and check the location and depth of underground lines before deep plowing, tilling, ripping or installing a fence or drain tiles. They should call every time.
Operators will locate the pipeline, perform a depth and safety analysis and work with the rancher or farmer to help protect them, their land and the pipeline or underground utility line. This work is done free of charge. Operators will typically request to be on-site during projects directly near the underground line to provide safety guidance regarding clearances and backfilling procedures.
For more information about Pipeline Safety in the Agricultural Community, please visit: http://www.pipelineagsafety.org/. INGAA and America’s Energy Link, its social media site, will also feature blogs and social media aimed at the farming and ranching community this month.
For many Americans, April often means gardening and outdoor projects. The Common Ground Alliance and its 1,700 members, including the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, will promote National Safe Digging Month during April through state and nationwide outreach and local events.
National Safe Digging Month was designated more than a decade ago to remind Americans that our land is made up of a complex underground infrastructure of pipelines, wires and cables. Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in hefty fines and repair costs.
Be safe. Call before you dig. Every time you dig. Visit http://www.call811.com this April, or any other day, to learn more about 811 and safe digging practices.