Massachusetts recently passed a law against an unlikely killer: natural gas.
Citing several dangerous or deadly gas-related explosions, the law requires speedier and safer repairs to gas leaks. For professional excavators, it’s a reminder that you should undergo proper preparation before digging.
Professionals know that you need the right experience, tools, and boring equipment to complete a task. But just as importantly, you’ll need to call 811.
As you may know, calling 811 before a dig or excavation is now a requirement in most states. By doing so, homeowners and contractors will connect with a free service that notifies local utility companies about the upcoming project.
From there, a professional locator will go to the dig site and identify all of the underground lines with different-colored flags.
811’s service is crucial for several reasons:
Digging is a dangerous business. Even with a vetted job site, you still run the risk of an accident. However, you can greatly minimize the risk by locating all of the gas lines ahead of time.
In addition to marking them, a gas pipeline representative may even be present to oversee the dig depending on a few factors. Your proximity to the pipeline has to fall within a certain distance, and it must carry a particular product and be of a specific size. However, every state’s laws are different, so be sure to inquire when you call 811.
It’s also important to remember that, while rupturing a gas line won’t necessarily result in the worst-case scenario, it can still be dangerous. Simply being exposed to it can adversely affect your health.
Although preparing for a dig can perhaps take longer than you would like, it may end up saving you money. As with any other project, a good plan up front will ensure that you don’t waste resources down the road.
Think of 811 as an investment tool. Of course, hitting a gas line is dangerous, but it also can also damage your bottom line. Most likely, you’ll have to shut down the job site, which means you’re now prolonging the project, and eating into time you could’ve spent starting the next job.
Likewise, by knowing exactly where to dig when you show up, you save time. You won’t have to spend your day betting on the best location.
In addition to being the law, calling 811 is just common practice in the industry. Sure, avoiding it to get a jump-start on the project might save you time, but it frankly doesn’t reflect well on your business practices.
If you do circumvent that stage of the process and end up disrupting a gas line, it’s not only dangerous but embarrassing. You’ve now identified your business to the world as one that doesn’t follow industry best procedures. It makes you look bad, and could potentially hurt future business.