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April is Dig Safe Month

By COS staff

The warmer weather brings new construction and landscaping projects across the country, and April is designated as Dig Safe Month to remind workers to call their local electrical authority before breaking ground.

"Dig Safe Month is designed to naturally coincide with the unofficial start of spring digging season. It will serve as a reminder to homeowners and contractors that they need to call before they start digging," said Jim Douglas, president of the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA).

Dig Safe Month helps raise awareness of safe digging practices across the province, improve worker safety and reduce damage to underground plant.

Springtime is typically the time of year when utilities begin to see a spike in the number of calls to repair damage to underground natural gas lines.

"Last year was a groundbreaking year for BC One Call requests for our gas infrastructure, with the number of tickets processed surpassing 100,000 for the first time. More than ever before British Columbians are taking steps to avoid damaging underground utilities," said Doyle Sam, executive vice-president, operations and engineering, FortisBC. "We want people to keep up that momentum because you should never try to guess where it's safe to dig. Stay safe and call before you dig."

Ninety-nine per cent of damage to FortisBC's natural gas system is caused by third parties such as construction crews, contractors and homeowners. The vast majority of those incidents could be prevented by calling BC One Call and following safe digging procedures.

"If you're planning to dig, take the time to call or to click on BC One Call's website to receive all information from participating utilities in your area," said Gary Tremblay, executive director of BC One Call.

Beyond the potential safety hazards, damage to energy infrastructure can be costly. If proper digging practices are not followed and BC One Call isn't consulted, whoever damaged the underground infrastructure could be on the hook for the full cost of the repairs. Often, the bills are thousands of dollars.

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