April and National Safe Digging Month may be over, but safety is a year-round responsibility. And since we all depend on underground utility pipelines to carry out daily activities, avoiding accidentally hitting and damaging them by calling 8-1-1 toll-free is everyone’s business.
"811" is the national, toll-free telephone number that should be used by anyone prior to digging. Calling 8-1-1 prompts local utilities companies to send someone to mark locations of underground pipelines and other utilities so they can be avoided during construction, landscaping, and other projects. Everyone from professional excavators to people working and gardening in their backyards should make the call.
For five years, DOT has been sending this safety message: Know what’s below. Call 811 before you dig. Today, our Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is taking another step to get that important message out by launching a new Public Service Announcement (PSA).
Called "Avoid a Grimm situation," the new PSA wraps the 8-1-1 message in an engaging and entertaining package.
I encourage everyone—the media, state and local governments, pipeline operators, emergency responders and concerned citizens—to view and share these announcements.
Thank you to companies like Angie’s List, John Deere and Tri-State Boring, who are working with us to deliver this important safety message by educating their employees and customers about calling 811. Here are some ways you can promote the toll-free 8-1-1 pipeline information service:
- Share the 811 link and PSA on social media accounts
- Ask people to take the 811 Promise
- Post the 811 logo and link on websites
- Post the 811 logo in email signatures
As we celebrate five years of the 811 campaign, I’m proud that our collective efforts have led to a considerable decline in the number of pipeline incidents caused by excavation damage.
However, even one incident can bring painful service disruptions, injuries, and death. So we still have a lot of work to do in our effort to improve pipeline safety.
PHMSA continues its aggressive efforts in advancing the safety of the nation’s energy transportation network, which consists of 2.5 million miles of pipelines. In addition to their enhanced public education efforts, PHMSA has stepped up their enforcement actions and published several pipeline safety proposals for public comment, including one that addresses excavation damage prevention. President Obama has also backed our effort by signing the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 in January.
And remember, although April has ended, we all have a role to play throughout the year to make sure the valuable resources carried by our nation's pipelines are delivered safely and reliably. So avoid a Grimm situation; always call 811 before you dig.