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OHIO 811

This month we have an important, extra safety tip. April is national Safe Digging month. Previously referred to as O.U.P.S., OHIO811 is a non-profit public safety organization that reaches out to utility companies in the area you’re planning to work in, so that utility lines can be marked and avoided when digging in the area. Dialing 811 will put you in contact with a locator in any state, not just Ohio. The law requires that anyone digging contact OHIO811 at least 48 hours, but no more than 10 working days prior to beginning their work, and this applies to homeowners as well as contractors. This time frame does not include weekends or nationally recognized holidays.

  1. Always call before you dig. Calling 2-3 days prior to the start of work allows locators ample time to mark all the utilities in the proposed worksite to the best of their ability.
  2. Respect the wait time. Digging before the locators have had enough time to come to the site defeats the purpose of calling to begin with. Use Positive Response to verify the status of the markings for each utility.
  3. Respect the markings. Locators will mark lines with color coded flags or paint. The legend for the colors is provided below. Protect and preserve the markings. Never “refresh” markings with your own paint. Contact OHIO811 when markings are destroyed, removed, or need remarked.
  4. Dig with care. Ohio law prohibits digging with machines within 18” of either side of a marked line, although in some states that number can be as high as 24”. There could also be customer or site-specific digging requirements. Also, be aware of signs that may indicate an unmarked line in the area. These signs can be fire hydrants, manhole covers, water valve boxes, and lines running down poles to name a few.

Hitting a line can be dangerous and expensive, which is why it is important to follow these steps. If a line is hit, walk away immediately and take steps to clear the area to protect yourself and the crew. If you damage a utility contact your Safety Supervisor and OHIO811 immediately

to download the optional Safety Talk form for your workplace.