April Is National Safe Dig Month! Whether it’s a property occupant planting a tree or erecting a fence, or large excavation companies building highways, strip malls and subdivisions, preventing damage to underground utility lines when digging or demolishing makes good sense.
Survey reveals more than 40 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and others at risk by not calling 811 before starting
Making a free call to 811 before digging for home improvement projects – including landscaping or installing a mailbox – can prevent damage to underground utility lines and keep communities safe
In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, we are sharing these results from a recent national survey. The results revealed that 42 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox, or building a deck, pond or patio and other DIY projects, will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 a few days beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged.
The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, also revealed that nearly half of American homeowners who plan to dig this year will complete landscaping projects that require a call to 811 at least a few days prior to digging. The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:
Tens of millions of Americans plan to do DIY digging projects this year, but according to our survey, 42 percent of them admit that they will not call 811 beforehand, which puts homeowners and their communities at risk. Calling 811 a few days before any planned home improvement projects that require digging – including common landscaping projects like planting trees and shrubs – is critical to preventing incidents like service outages and serious injuries.”
CGA’s 1,700 members, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and most governors have proclaimed April as National Safe Digging Month to bring extra attention to the issue of underground utility line safety and reduce the risk of unnecessary infrastructure damage.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, the Delaware Public Service Commission encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.
CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,700 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at http://www.commongroundalliance.com.
About the study
SSRS conducted a national omnibus phone study between March 5-10, 2019, on behalf of CGA. A total of 648 American homeowners ages 18+ were asked for their opinions on home and property improvement project topics. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.85% at the 95 percent confidence level.