The weather is warming up, so you’re probably planning outdoor projects. Maybe you’re planting a backyard garden or installing a pool. But if these plans include overturning soil, you must practice safe digging. Remember these rules.
Calling 811, the nation’s call-before-you-dig number, is the most important step in safe digging. Once you call (or visit the Kentucky 811 website), you can request that utility workers mark lines with paint or flags. And you must complete this task two workdays (or more depending on the project’s scope) before breaking ground.
Some utility lines can be hidden a few inches below your yard’s surface. Always check for them—even when doing minor projects. That means you should call before planting a single flower.
Unfortunately, if you don’t call 811, you risk injury or death if you hit a line. Or, you could cause significant damage and have to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
So, practice safe digging and get your yard marked before breaking ground—even if you’ve already had the same area flagged before. Erosion and root growth can shift lines, so call 811 every time.
Don’t move a utility line.
Don’t touch a utility line if you uncover one while digging. Instead, stop working and call 911 if you’ve caused life-threatening damage.
Double-check your contractor’s insurance.
If you’re using a contractor, make sure they have proper insurance. Safe digging guidelines require everything, including permits and insurance policies, to be in order. Also, check that your contractor is bonded. Bonding offers protection if the contractor doesn’t complete a job or pay for damages they caused.
Speaking of insurance, note that your home insurance won’t cover utility lines until they enter your dwelling. However, if you’re worried about them, you can purchase an underground service line endorsement that offers coverage up to a specific amount.
And if you follow safe digging rules and have your utility lines marked, you should be able to complete your project without a problem. Still, some insurance protection may give you peace of mind. Call a Hibbs agent if you want to know more.