In partnership with the Common Ground Alliance and support of National Safe Digging Month, The Utility Expo is encouraging safe digging practices among all utility and construction companies, their employees, and their customers.
The Common Ground Alliance has designated April as National Safe Digging Month, as a reminder to “call before you dig”. Research has revealed that if someone calls 8-1-1 before they dig, they have a 99 percent chance of avoiding an incident, injury, harm to the environment and even death. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (Owner and producer of The Utility Expo) is a proud member of the Common Ground Alliance and believes that knowing the importance of safe digging is crucial to successful and safe operating during a work or at-home project.
Safe Digging Best Practices Taught at The Utility Expo
Contrary to popular belief, safe digging, or lack thereof, is not a problem seen solely by at home do-it-yourselfers. Rather, it is an issue that contractors face just as often. Safely finding and avoiding utilities underground remains a priority of utility and construction companies. To better address the safety and operating concerns behind digging, The Utility Expo has consulted utility industry professionals and hosted numerous education sessions highlighting the importance of safe digging, with topics such as underground detection and vacuum excavating.
Mark Parilac, President of Planet Underground, shared insights with members of the utility industry to help understand the best practices for damage prevention and safety while constructing and maintaining underground utilities. Attendees gained insight on various electromagnetic tools and techniques to detect and mark accurately, but the most important takeaway: the importance for commercial utility contractors to call 811 prior to breaking ground.
Alex DuDevoire, of Clean Harbors-Lonestar West Services, gave attendees a deep dive into vacuum excavating. DuDevoire explains the benefits of vacuum excavating vs. traditional excavating, as well as how to safely find and see utilities underground that may not otherwise be visible.
“Despite the technological advancements in vacuum excavators, calling the 811 hotline is still a crucial step contractors must take in order to not only keep a project on time, but also keep the crew safe.”
Whether you consider yourself a construction or utility pro or not, the fact remains that the single most important step any contractor can take is to have the approximate location of buried utilities marked before digging. Whether you’re calling, clicking, or tapping 811, you could be saving lives. Always know what’s below, and call 811 before you dig.