Contractors Reminded to Call Before Digging

Wed April 13, 2005 - Southeast Edition

A quick phone call before the excavators are revved up could save the possibility of a fine and maybe even a life.

Gov. Jeb Bush officially proclaimed April as Call Before You Dig Month in Florida. Its purpose is to educate the public on the four major steps to safe digging.

Hitting a utility line could simply knock out cable television service to the neighborhood or, in the case of a gas line, could result in the loss of a life.

As someone prepares to dig, they should first call Sunshine State One Call at 800/432-4770 two full business days beforehand. The responsibility to do so rests on the shoulders of the digger, not the property owner.

Once the call has been made, the utility companies mark the site with color-coded stakes, flags or paint, making it easier for diggers to locate the utility lines. This is a free service.

Contractors must wait until the site is marked to begin digging.

The flags must remain visible until the project’s completion. Removing them is a misdemeanor offense.

Even with the lines marked, diggers should use extreme caution when digging within two feet of the markers. If the flags are destroyed, the excavator must stop digging immediately and place another phone call.

The law requires a second person to supervise digging if machinery is being used.

Failure to call the hotline before digging is punishable by a minimum fine of $250 and the job site being shut down.

For more information, visit CEG Staff