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From backyards and backhoes to trees and trenches, National 811 Day is a great reminder for Arkansans to know what’s below and call 811 before starting any projects that require digging. It’s free, safe and the law.
Black Hills Energy spent much of last week recognizing the day, while conducting various public events.
To continue its public safety education efforts, Black Hills Energy rolled out a new damage prevention demonstration trailer, which is the first of its kind for the company and new for the industry, to job sites and public events to share safety tips about the dangers of not calling 811 for underground utility lines to be located 48 hours before beginning construction, landscaping and fencing.
In addition to conducting excavation trainings and delivering supplies to contractors on Aug. 8, Black Hills Energy recognized 811 Day by setting up its trailer at Lowe’s in Rogers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on last Thursday to pass out 811 items and drinks.
The company also supported the Call Before You Dig 8.11K Run to benefit Construction Angels over the weekend, which provides assistance and counseling to family members left behind when a construction worker is fatally injured on a job site.
“The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is our first priority so using safe digging and excavation practices whether you’re a do-it-yourself homeowner or a professional contractor are both critically important,” said Chad Kinsley, vice president of operations at Black Hills Energy in Arkansas. “We ask homeowners and contractors alike to use the free 811 service 48 hours before beginning any digging project to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line.”
Failure to comply with “Call Before You Dig” laws can result in injury or death, widespread utility service outages, repair costs and fines. Here are the steps to safely plan a project that involves digging:
1. Mark your excavation site. Spray paint a white line or place white flags around your planned excavation site before you call, which helps the line locator understand your plans and reduces the chance for project delays.
2. Call or click before you dig. No matter how large or small, call 811 or submit a ticket at Arkansas811.com at least two full business days in advance of when you plan to dig to have utility lines marked. Utility specialists will mark the approximate location of buried utility lines with color-coded paint or flags – at no charge to you. Yellow indicates gas lines.
3. Respect the marks. Carefully hand dig with a shovel within 18 to 24 inches of any utility lines as opposed to using heavy equipment. Use extreme caution around all utility lines. Just a nick can may develop into a gas leak or other serious situation.
4. Do not rely on old line locate marks. If you do not dig within 10 business days of having utility lines marked, contact Arkansas 811 again. Line locators will return to remark the lines as quickly as possible at no charge.
Visit call811.com or Arkansas811.com for more information about safe digging practices.