Gov. Polis Declares April "Dig Safely Month" in Colorado
(DENVER) – Gov. Polis has issued a proclamation declaring the month of April as Dig Safely Month in Colorado.
Beneath our feet lies an underground maze of different municipal and utility networks, including traffic signal and telephone systems, fiber optic cables, electric power lines, water, natural gas, oil pipelines and more. Hitting any of these buried lines during excavation work can result in service disruptions and subsequent repair costs and fines. More importantly, however, striking a utility line can be dangerous, resulting in injury or death.
Whether the project is done by contractors or landscapers or is a simple homeowner project, such as planting a tree or installing a mailbox, excavation work has potential hazards.
Preventing those hazards is the work of a non-profit organization called Colorado 811. Digging projects, no matter how small, should only begin after contacting 811. In fact, those doing excavation work are more than three times as likely to hit a buried utility line because they did not contact 811 before starting their project.
Contacting Colorado 811 results in the appropriate utility companies being notified and professional utility locators being sent to the site to mark the locations of underground lines with flags and/or paint. It’s a simple first step that can result in avoiding a problem – or even a catastrophe.
The April 2017 home explosion in Firestone, caused by a leaking uncapped gas flow line, underscored the need for enforcement oversight of excavation activities. Colorado’s revised One Call Law and Senate Bill 18-167 were enacted in 2018 to address the public safety issues surrounding underground facilities and excavation.
This year marks the beginning of a unique collaboration between Colorado 811 and the Department of Labor and Employment in assisting the new Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission that was created through the legislation. The Safety Commission is a governor-appointed, 15-member group that reviews complaints of alleged violations of the One Call Law and develops best practices and training to enhance public safety.
Homeowners and businesses who have questions about the new Colorado 811 legislation can visit colorado811.org, and anyone doing digging is urged to contact 811 at least three days prior to excavating.
The Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission and the Division of Oil and Public Safety are both working closely with Colorado 811 to help keep Colorado families, properties and communities safe.