Washington, D.C. —The American Gas Association (AGA) is pleased to observe National Safe Digging Month this April. Safe Digging Month was put in place by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to help communicate the importance of professionals and homeowners following safe digging procedures by calling ‘811’ before any excavation projects, thereby helping prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. Having worked collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to found CGA, AGA and its members are committed to promoting safe digging standards and practices to help ensure public safety.
“While industry safety and safe digging are issues we think about every day, April means spring weather and more outdoor activity, including backyard excavation projects such as landscaping. That makes it a good month to remind people of the need to continue raising awareness about the potential dangers of excavation without first dialing the nationwide ‘Call Before You Dig’ 811-number,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “Our membership works with the public on a daily basis and we need to continue to raise the flag on this issue. Excavation damage remains the number one threat to pipeline safety and reliability all year long.”
The 811 hotline is a free service that allows people to obtain information about what may be buried beneath the excavation surface area, including natural gas pipelines, electric power lines and other infrastructure. Homeowners and professionals may not always be aware of the importance of marking utility lines before excavation, but calling before a digging job – even small projects such as planting trees and shrubs – can help prevent undesired consequences.
According to CGA, excavation damages for all underground facilities decreased by approximately 50 percent from 2004 to 2008, due in large part to the work done by the pipeline industry in promoting the use of Call Before You Dig 811-number.
CGA was formed in 2000 as a follow up to DOT’s Common Ground Study, which highlighted the need for one organization to continuously update best practices among the growing pipeline network.