Dig safely, and lawfully, this spring

Staff report
South Dakota Common Ground Alliance (SDCGA) held the SD Damage Prevention & Excavation Safety Summit March 19 at the WH Lyons fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.
The summit included six educational sessions, including a keynote presentation from Mike Parilac with Staking University.
Between sessions, more than 300 attendees networked with more than 30 vendors to learn about new products and processes.
After a catered lunch, South Dakota 811 gave its annual presentation.
“April is National Safe Digging Month, and calling 811 at least three days before digging is not only the safe way to go, but it is the law,” said Bob Bishop with Flagshooter Inc. “Our summit was training on this exact message for excavators and contractors within South Dakota, but this message applies to everyone, even home owners.”
Safe spring digging
A national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, revealed that nearly half of American homeowners who plan to dig this year will complete landscaping projects that require a call to 811 at least a few days prior to digging.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, homeowners are encouraged to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
• Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property. 
• Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
• Confirm that all lines have been marked.  
• Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings. 
• If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked. 
• Visit www.call811.com for complete info.
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. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.


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