PUC Recognizes National 811 Day & Damage Prevention Efforts

PUC Recognizes National 811 Day & Damage Prevention Efforts

Calling 8-1-1 Before Starting Any Digging Project is an Essential Safety Step for Contractors and Those Working Around the Home

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encouraged every Pennsylvanian to consider the importance of safe digging on this 11th day of August, or 8/11 – which is “National 811 Day.”

“Residents, contractors, businesses and utilities all play a role in helping to ensure the safety of excavation projects,” noted PUC Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. “That begins with ensuring that the Pennsylvania One Call system is contacted before any digging so underground utilities can be located and marked before work begins.”

Calling 8-1-1 before any excavation project is a key step in safeguarding workers and the public, as well as helping to prevent damage to essential underground utilities.

Digging Safety

Every time an underground utility line is hit, there is a risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.

During the first half of 2021, a total of 3,259 incident reports were received by PA One Call, compared to 3,445 for the same period last year – a decrease of about 6%, or 186 reports.

Every reduction in the number of “hits” on underground utility lines helps to make our community safer.

PA One Call Law

State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.

The Damage Prevention Committee

The PUC’s Damage Prevention Committee (DPC) works to enforce the state’s One Call Law, with a focus on education and public awareness, along with the investigation of violations.

The DPC is a peer-based group, nominated by their industry or affiliated organization and appointed by the PUC. Creation of the committee was authorized by Act 50 of 2017, which enhances Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “One Call Law.”

The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of Act 50 and make informal determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters, mandatory training programs and/or administrative penalties. Summaries of actions taken at monthly DPC meetings are available on the PUC’s website.

About the PUC

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.