April is National Safe Digging Month. Here, at PSE&G, we love celebrating National Safe Digging Month because it serves as a reminder to everyone who excavates to call 811 at least three business days before beginning your project.
When you call 811, you’ll be connected to the New Jersey One Call center and a representative there will process your ticket and notify the nearby utilities of your work. The utility companies will then use paint and flags to mark the approximate locations of their facilities. The markout remains valid for 45 business days.
It’s the law
Always remember that damages to underground utilities can have huge, potentially dangerous consequences — especially now when we’re all relying on our utilities so much to keep us safe and connected. Calling 811 is the first line of defense against these incidents. It is the safe and smart thing to do to keep your community safe. It’s also the law.
As Gas Operations Senior Director Mike Gaffney said:
“I cannot stress enough how important it is for homeowners and contractors to follow the law in calling 811 prior to any kind of excavation. You will be surprised how often damages occur from small homeowner projects like installing fences, mailboxes and planting trees. All of these avoidable damages result in safety-related hazards and can lead to costly repairs for which homeowners may be responsible. This also holds true for contractors that are excavating. When hiring a contractor, homeowners should ensure that the contractor is following the law and calling 811 prior to any excavation. It is the easiest way to ensure you are digging safely.”
913 digging damages
Digging without knowledge of the location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, utility disruption and costly repairs. In 2020, PSE&G responded to 913 excavating damages (756 gas, 157 electric). The best way to prevent excavating damage is to call 811 before beginning any digging project this spring and use caution around marked facilities.
Also, physical distancing continues to be an important tactic in fighting COVID-19, so PSE&G reminds the public that markout work is performed entirely outdoors and there is no need for any interaction between the technician and the person who called to request the mark out.
Prevention is key:
- Contractors, excavators and customers should always call 811 to request that utility lines be located and marked before digging, to avoid hitting underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. This service is free, and critical to avoid injuries and disruptions to vital utility services. If there is excavation work occurring on your property, customers should always make sure that a contractor has called 811 before starting work. Every digging project, even a small project like planting a tree or building a deck with hand tools, requires a call to 811.
What to do if you smell gas:
- Leave the building as quickly as possible, taking care not to touch any light switches or appliances to avoid potential sources of ignition, and move 350-feet away from the structure.
- Take all others with you. If you smell gas outside, move well away from where you suspect the gas is leaking.
- Call PSE&G immediately at 1-800-880-PSEG (7734) and call 911. (Do NOT call from inside the building. Wait until you are outside and a safe distance to call.)