The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them, has partnered with The Home Depot to educate customers on the importance of calling prior to digging.
Results from a recent national survey found that more than half – 57 percent – of the respondents who plan to dig on their property this year will not notify their local call-before-you-dig center by dialing 811, risking serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs that can occur when a line is damaged.
To build awareness of this important safety message, The Home Depot and CGA are launching a partnership that will reach homeowners directly through The Home Depot associates. The partnership includes 811 training for associates, availability of 811 literature for customers and placement of 811 stickers and key tags in rental centers and on rental equipment. The program kicked off in stores throughout Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho and Alaska in May.
“We are working to ensure every home improvement project involving digging begins with a free call to 811. The Home Depot’s leadership and support of this very important message will advance our common goal to keep our communities and The Home Depot customers safe,” said Bob Kipp, CGA president.
Failure to call 811 a few days before digging contributed to an estimated 75,000 underground utility damages and was the leading reason for underground utility damage in 2009, according to industry data compiled by CGA.
Among homeowners who plan to dig this year, the most popular projects include planting shrubs (among 71 percent of homeowners who plan to dig), planting a tree (57 percent) and digging to pour concrete to create a patio or walkway (29 percent). All of these common do-it-yourself (DIY) projects could damage the underground infrastructure if the person digging does not know the approximate location of buried utility lines, according to survey data.
Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one-call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. A professional locator will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of all underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been marked, it is safe to begin digging carefully around the marked areas.