PUCO reminds to call 8-1-1 before you dig

COLUMBUS — With 8-1-1 day (Aug. 11) right around the corner, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) reminds Ohioans to practice safe digging procedures.

Excavation damage is often cited as the leading cause of serious pipeline incidents that cause death, injuries and property damage. Accidents can easily be avoided by having underground lines marked for safe digging.

Follow these five steps before beginning any digging project. It’s the law.

  1. Call 8-1-1 at least 48 hours, but not more than 10 days, before you plan to dig. The Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) will notify the utility operators in your area that you are planning to dig.
  2. Wait 48 hours before beginning your project. This gives utility operators a chance to mark any underground lines.
  3. Confirm that all lines in the area have been marked. In addition to seeing flags or paint marking the lines, some companies will use OUPS Positive Response which allows line or facility owners to communicate the status of their one call ticket to the excavator. You can check the status on your own by calling (800) 445-3894.
  4. Respect the markings. For your safety and those around you, steer clear of marked lines. Each utility type uses different colored flags or paint to mark their lines. To find out what kind of lines are marked in your yard, visit the color code guide on the OUPS website.
  5. Dig carefully. Hitting an underground utility line while digging can cause damage to the environment and even injury or death.

If you hit a line, leave the area immediately to protect yourself and crew. If a substance starts releasing into the air, call 9-1-1. For any damaged underground facility, contact the utility company listed on the nearest marker.

Together with the Oil & Gas Producers Underground Protection Service (OGPUPS) and OUPS, the PUCO reminds you to take the careful steps to ensure your safety before beginning any digging project.

For more information, visit the Ohio Utilities Protection Service’s website at www.oups.org, the Oil and Gas Producers Underground Protection Service’s website at www.ogpups.org, or call 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764.