Monthly Safety Blast
Produced by the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education
Think Before You Dig
Many farms and ranches have been passed down through a family for generations or operated by a single owner for decades. You or someone you know may remember when and where underground utilities were installed on your land. But the location and depth of these lines can change over the years due to erosion, previous digging projects or uneven surfaces, so it’s important to call 811—even if you think you may know what is buried in the area.
Digging Safety Tips:
- If you observe any suspicious activity along pipeline right-of-way report it to the Pipeline Operator (PO).
- If you smell any type of odor that is unusual near a pipeline right-of-way report it ASAP.
- if you notice an excavator working on or near pipeline right-of-way and no pipeline personnel present at the site then report it.
- Develop awareness of where the pipeline facilities are located in your community.
- Be aware of what products/vehicles are being transported to and from the pipelines.
- If you discover any flammable, toxic or corrosive gas or liquid gas escaping from the pipeline, report it to 911 and PO.
- Observe the information provided on pipeline signs in your community.
- If you suspect anything unusual along pipeline right-of-way report it to the pipeline operator.
- It may turn out to be nothing, but that’s ok. The pipeline personnel are committed to safety, and would like the opportunity to check it out. Better safe than sorry.
Before Digging or Planting:
Comply with Texas law. Dial 811 or your local One Call Center to request to have pipelines located before digging or landscaping at least two days before starting your project. One Call is a free service that coordinates with utility companies to mark pipelines and other underground utility lines.
811 is a free, nationwide service designed to keep you safe when digging or excavating. Calling 811 is meant to be a simple process and is always the safest option any time you are moving dirt. Two to three business days before a soil-disturbing project, simply make a call to 811 with important details about your work, including:
- The type of work you will be doing and a description of the area.
- The date and time when excavation will begin.
- Your work site’s street address, the road on which it is located and the nearest intersection.
- Driving directions or GPS coordinates.
After the call is made, professional locators will mark underground utilities. Pipelines will be marked with yellow flags or paint so you can conduct your work around them, saving yourself from potential injury or damage. Many states now offer online “811” options; visit call811.com/state-specific.aspx to find out if an online option is available in your state.
General Questions about TPAA:
Take the Think Before You Dig quiz to test your knowledge!
Disclaimer: The facts and information listed above are merely suggestions for your safety, but are in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all actions needed to insure your safety.
Monthly Blast written by our Outreach Health Education Coordinator, Nykole Kafka Vance, MS, CEP, CHES