Util­ity com­mis­sion pro­motes im­por­tance of #SafeDig­ging

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL -

Penn­syl­va­nia Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion Chair­man Gla­dys M. Brown on Fri­day joined with util­i­ties and agen­cies from across the state to stress the im­por­tance of #SafeDig­ging at job sites and at home, in­clud­ing the need to call 811 be­fore any dig­ging project to en­sure that un­der­ground util­i­ties are prop­erly lo­cated and marked.

“We are here to­day to high­light a se­ri­ous pub­lic safety threat — in­volv­ing thou­sands of ‘hits’ ev­ery year on our un­der­ground util­i­ties – and to em­pha­size that we all play a role in re­duc­ing this haz­ard,” Brown said, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

The PUC joined with util­i­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions dur­ing a #SafeDig­ging demon­stra­tion at the Columbia Gas Train­ing Cen­ter’s Safety Town in Monaca, Beaver County.

Ev­ery year, un­der­ground lines across the com­mon­wealth are struck more than 6,000 times — which means that dur­ing the av­er­age work­day a pipe­line or other vi­tal util­ity sys­tem is hit ev­ery 20 min­utes.

While un­der­ground lines are of­ten “out of sight and out of mind,” ev­ery hit poses a risk to the con­trac­tors and home­own­ers who are do­ing the dig­ging; to util­ity work­ers and emer­gency re­spon­ders who are mo­bi­lized when lines are struck; and to by­standers who live, work or travel near the lo­ca­tions of the in­ci­dents.

“Ev­ery time a line is hit there’s the dan­ger of in­jury or se­ri­ous dam­age — along with the pos­si­bil­ity of lengthy ser­vice in­ter­rup­tions, spills or other en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, costly re­pairs to dam­aged lines and lost pro­duc­tiv­ity for those im­pacted,” said Brown. “For­tu­nately, there is some­thing quick and easy that we can all do to help re­duce the num­ber of in­ci­dents and curb po­ten­tial dan­gers — which is to con­tact the Penn­syl­va­nia One Call sys­tem, by call­ing 811, be­fore start­ing any ex­ca­va­tion project.”

State law re­quires con­trac­tors and res­i­dents to con­tact PA One Call at least three busi­ness days prior to ex­ca­va­tion. That call trig­gers alerts to all util­i­ties within an in­tended dig­ging area and prompts util­i­ties to mark where their fa­cil­i­ties are lo­cated.

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