Spread Awareness About the Importance of Calling 811

With April being National Safe Digging Month, take the opportunity to help educate others on safe excavation practices

Spread Awareness About the Importance of Calling 811

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As a member of the Common Ground Alliance, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers is supporting National Safe Digging Month in April and asking its 1,000-plus members to spread awareness of the need to call 811 before any digging projects — no exceptions.

According to CGA, 56% of homeowners who are planning to plant a tree or shrub this year say they are more likely to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic than before. That fact alone emphasizes the need for National Safe Digging Month to raise awareness to the issue of underground line safety and help reduce the risk of unnecessary infrastructure damage.

“The message of safety is one that should always remain front of mind,” says AEM Safety and Product Leadership Manager William Bernhard. “In recognizing National Safe Digging Month, we reaffirm our commitment to being safety conscious. Safe machinery operation and job preparation saves lives, and all industry stakeholders contribute to the success of any utility excavation or installation.”

With that fact in mind, AEM encourages everyone planning a digging project to take the following steps:

  • Always call 811 a few days in advance of a digging project, no matter the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead and provide ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  • Confirm all lines have been marked with the one-call service, and look for evidence of any utilities that may have been missed, as well as ensure all underground utilities are located prior to excavating.
  • Strongly consider moving the location of the project if it’s near utility line markings.
  • Know the tolerance zone in the state where the project is taking place. The exact distance that defines this area varies from state to state, along with the tools used to safely and effectively expose a buried facility.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm a call to 811 has been made, and don’t allow work to begin if lines haven’t been marked.
  • Each and every state offers its own 811 call center to help with digging efforts, and 811 representatives take information about impending projects and notify appropriate utility companies to mark buried lines so digging can safely occur around them.

AEM works diligently to promote 811 in a variety of different ways, including:

  • AEM Safety Manuals provide information on how to use “Call 811.”
  • AEM member companies promote “Call 811” on their websites and through advertisement sliders and editorials.
  • Manufacturers place “Call 811” signage on their equipment.
  • Manufacturers post “811 Know What’s Below” stickers on their equipment.
  • References and instructions to “Call 811” are printed in their equipment operator’s manuals.
  • “Call 811” is mentioned in every safety video that involves breaking ground.
  • “Call 811” is mentioned in safety toolbox talks.
  • “Call 811” events are posted on social media outlets.
  • Attend and present as industry experts at 811 events.
  • Attend and present as industry stakeholders at CGA conferences.
  • Participate in the CGA Best Practices committee.
  • Use CGA’s website and marketing materials.

“AEM and its members are committed to safety, and we assist manufacturers and the off-road equipment industry in fostering safety best practices through our extensive array of safety manuals, videos and related training materials,” says AEM Director of Safety Materials Jaime Vos.

For more information, check out the Common Ground Alliance website.


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