Every nine minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone failed to call 811 before a digging project. In April, many state 811 agencies are joining together to celebrate National Safe Digging Month, a time to promote awareness of digging safely even in your own backyard.
At MetroNet, safety is one of the core principles that we live by every day as we bring 100% fiber to more homes and businesses across the U.S. In many of the communities we serve, our fiber optic cables are buried underground can be damaged or severed by digging.
Use these tips to lessen your chance of damaging your lightning fast fiber speeds!
It’s All About The Plan
If you are replacing landscaping, digging up trees, planting shrubs, setting a new mailbox or fence, or installing a backyard pool, make sure that you leave plenty of time in construction for proper 811 protocols. Each state has their own guidelines but they can easily be accessed online, like on Ohio 811’s website or Florida’s Sunshine 811 infographic. Even if you’ve had lines marked in the past, each new project requires new markings. If you have hired a contractor for your project, ensure that he/she has followed the proper 811 protocol.
Before you call your state’s 811, Indiana 811 recommends that you mark the areas that are included in your plan with either white paint or flags. This will ensure that utility companies can easily identify problem areas quickly.
Before you begin digging of any kind, wait for the marks from local utilities. Most 811 organizations provide a color code for each type of line marked. Take the time to ensure that each code is represented and is clearly visible.
Even after lines are marked, there are rules that govern your digging process. Your state will help guide you on tolerance zones and how to respect them to ensure safety during digging.
MetroNet works alongside state 811 agencies to ensure that our construction in new and existing markets is respectful of residents, businesses and other utilities. Our Safety Team proudly serves on several 811 leadership boards to build a safer future for all that dig.
We encourage you to follow safe digging this month and all throughout the year!