With April marking National Safe Digging Month and the start of more outdoor projects – including those at home tackling digging-related projects and professionals continuing excavation work – NIPSCO urges everyone to help protect one another from serious risk or injury by calling 811 at least two business days prior to starting any digging project.
Calling 811 is not only important for your safety and the safety of others — it’s the law. 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 and serious injuries.
In addition to the risk of serious injury, not calling 811 could result in fines up to $10,000 and the cost to repair any damages. Last year, NIPSCO reported approximately 850 cases of system damage by a contractor, homeowner or other outside party. Approximately 35% of those were from people failing to call 811 before beginning their digging project. Safe Digging Month is dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices across the country and promoting the use of 811, the free, national call-before-you-dig phone number. Once a call or web ticket is made, a trained utility line locator will visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground public utility lines with paint or flags. Whether you’re planting trees, installing a fence or pool, or performing any other outdoor digging project, NIPSCO offers the following recommendations for a busy digging season:
Always call 811 or enter a request online at www.811NOW.com two business days before the start of any digging project.
Tell neighbors, coworkers, family and friends about 811 if they discuss their plans for an outdoor home improvement project with you.
Plan ahead – Indiana 811 is always open. Just make sure you call at least two business days in advance of your project start date.
Avoid starting projects until you’re sure all lines have been marked. When you call 811, you will hear a list of companies that should respond.
Choose another location on the property for a project if the original planned site is near utility line markings.
If your excavation is within two feet of any marked facility, only use hand tools or vacuum excavation with extreme caution.
If a contractor has been hired, confirm that he or she has made a call to 811 before doing any digging. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
After the site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging carefully around the marked areas.
NIPSCO utilizes two outside companies to assist with marking underground facilities for customers — Utiliquest and GridHawk. Thanks to an enhanced offering, NIPSCO customers will now receive an email confirmation that their requested project area has been located, complete with utility drawings and photos.
Visit NIPSCO.com/811 for more information about 811.