Promoting Damage Prevention

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One of the greatest risks to pipelines remains the people who dig where a facility is located. Accidents that result from such activity are preventable by being aware of your surroundings and by simply following a few basic steps. Preventing damage to pipelines and other underground facilities is a joint responsibility. Following are some things you can do to help.

The pipeline industry is also doing its part to educate many stakeholder groups about the importance of making the call to 8-1-1 before digging occurs. Events are held throughout the country during the month of April, which has been designated as National Damage Prevention Month, to promote underground damage prevention. June 10th has also been proclaimed National Pipeline Safety Day by Congress. Additional events are planned for August 11 or 8-1-1 Day.

The industry is an active stakeholder in the Common Ground Alliance, or CGA. CGA is a national organization dedicated to bringing  different stakeholders together that have a shared interest in prevention of damage to underground facilities and also to ensure the safety of the public and their employees. The group works to define those practices and standards that are most effective in governing the activities of excavators and facility owners in the attempt to prevent damage. The organization also develops and implements education programming to promote 8-1-1.

Things you can do:

  • Encourage operators of underground facilities to register their facilities with the local one-call center.  Many laws exempt some facilities form the requirement to participate.  If parties are exempt, there is no way to know whether there are underground pipes, cables or wires buried in the area of an evacuation.
  • It’s the law — Require that anyone planning to dig dial 8-1-1 before beginning such an activity.  This call will be directed to the local one-call center, where operators in the area will be notified of the upcoming project.  By way of reinforcement, an excavator can also be required to list their One-Call ticket number on any building or construction permit that is stipulated by local governments.
  • Provide a mechanism to fine or penalize those who fail to call before they dig.  This is the most effective way of reinforcing the importance of calling before you dig.  Damage prevention programs are found to be more successful when there is an incentive to call.