Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA), the Common Ground Alliance and other stakeholders have designated April 2009 as National Safe Digging Month. AGA and others will use the month of April to raise awareness of the “811 Call Before You Dig” program.
As spring arrives, the busy digging season begins. AGA encourages contractors and homeowners to call 811 before they dig, thereby helping to prevent injuries, property damage and outages. The 811 hotline is a free service to obtain information on what may exist beneath the excavation surface area. For example, natural gas pipelines, electric power lines and other infrastructure are often buried only a few inches underground, making them easy to strike even during shallow digging projects.
“Safety is the highest priority in the natural gas industry. More than $6 billion is spent each year to ensure that natural gas is delivered safety and efficiently,” said David Parker, president and CEO of AGA. “More than half of all reportable accidents on natural gas lines are caused by outside forces or third-party damage. That is why we encourage our customers to call 811 before beginning any outdoor digging project, large or small.”
Since the 811 “Call Before You Dig” campaign was created in 2004, there has been roughly a 40 percent reduction in excavation damages. For more information, visit AGA’s web site www.aga.org and click on the “811 We Support Safe Digging Month” button.