Gov. Signs Proclamation to Encourage Safe Digging

Mon June 30, 2008 - Southeast Edition
CEG



Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the Dig Safely Proclamation in an effort to help protect contractors.

“Everyone has a part in keeping Georgia safe and connected,” said Claudette Campbell, executive director of the Utilities Protection Center Inc. (UPC). “Safe digging is a shared responsibility.”

In attendance at the signing was Federal Administrator Carl Johnson from PHMSA.

“It was my honor to attend Gov. Perdue’s proclamation at the State Capitol. Part of the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is to assist states in building safe and effective damage prevention programs. Safety is the department’s No. 1 priority and the protection of the country’s underground facilities are important not only to our safety but to our way of life. Georgia certainly should be proud of the efforts made by all involved stakeholders in developing one of the most comprehensive damage prevention programs in the country,” Johnson said.

Doug Everett, Georgia public service commissioner, said, “Working collectively toward a common goal to prevent damages and personal injuries from occurring is a continuous program that requires team work. Since the passage of the Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act in 2000, the state has built a damage prevention program second to none in the nation.”

Johnson presented the Georgia Public Service Commission with a grant award at the proclamation signing.

“In recognition of their efforts, it was my honor to provide a check for $100,000 to the Georgia Public Service Commission to support their damage prevention enforcement activities. While the amount of money is not large, it also comes with our promise to assist the State of Georgia in any other way we can to continue to make improvements that will benefit all stakeholder groups. The state of Georgia is one of the first recipients of our State Damage Prevention Program grants and we look forward to our continued partnership to reduce damage to all underground facilities in our communities.”

Homeowners, farmers and professional excavators are encouraged to dial 811 before beginning any project involving digging. Every digging project requires a call to 811 — even small projects like planting trees or shrubs.

One utility line is unintentionally struck every minute in the United States.

“811 is an additional number to call for anyone wanting to contact the UPC. Those who have called 800/282-7411 may continue to do so,” Campbell said. “Over 1.3 million locate requests, or calls, were processed by the UPC in 2007. That averages just over 112,000 requests per month for the state of Georgia.”

A locate request is what is created when someone calls before digging.

Campbell explained that, “Calling the UPC to have underground facilities located not only saves time and money, but most importantly it saves lives. It is never too late to do the right thing. If you haven’t called in the past, start today. 811 is easy to remember and the call and the service are free. It also keeps you in compliance with the Georgia Dig Law.”

A free call to 811 starts the process of getting underground utility lines marked.

Diggers should notify the Utilities Protection Center at least two business days before excavation begins on public and private property, rights of way and easements.

For more information, visit www.gaupc.com or www.psc.state.ga.us.