New Survey Reveals Many Americans Will Compromise Their Safety During Spring Digging Projects

April 1, 2010

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire/ — The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the international organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them, today announced results from a recent survey that found more than half (57 percent) of Americans who plan to dig on their property this year do not plan to notify their local call-before-you-dig center by dialing 811. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs if a line is damaged.

Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one-call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. A professional locator will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

Failure to call 811 contributed to an estimated 75,000 underground utility damages in 2008, according to industry data compiled by CGA.

The national public opinion survey of 749 homeowners, conducted between March 11-16, found 52 percent of homeowner households plan to do at least one do-it-yourself project that involves digging this year, up from a reported 44 percent in 2009.

Among homeowners who plan to dig this year, the most popular projects include planting shrubs (71 percent), planting a tree (57 percent) and digging to pour concrete to create a patio or walkway (29 percent). All of these common do-it-yourself (DIY) projects could damage the underground infrastructure if the person digging does not know the approximate location of buried utility lines.

The survey also found that homeowners who plan to dig this year have a history of engaging in other DIY safety habits, which CGA hopes is a positive sign that Americans will be more likely to add calling 811 a few days before digging to their project checklists.

Specifically, homeowners who plan to dig this year reported doing the following in the past during a DIY project:

  • 95 percent have worn gloves.
  • 86 percent have worn proper footwear when mowing the lawn.
  • 81 percent have turned off the electricity during minor repairs.
  • 76 percent have worn protective eyewear.
  • 74 percent have had someone secure the base of a ladder for them.
  • 58 percent have worn a protective mask.

For the second consecutive year, CGA’s 1,400 members and 39 governors across the country have proclaimed April as National Safe Digging Month as a way to bring extra attention to the issue and increase the number of people who call 811 before digging. Additionally, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the awareness month on March 26.

CGA members will observe National Safe Digging Month by attending or sponsoring local events, including many in partnership with Earth Day and Arbor Day groups, to educate the public about 811. Two CGA members, 3M and Shell Pipeline, will prominently display the 811 logo on their respective sponsored race cars, Greg Biffle’s #16 3M Ford Fusion and Kevin Harvick’s #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala, at the April 25 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

“The fact that more than half of American homeowners who plan to dig this year don’t think their projects require a phone call to 811 is a troubling statistic, especially when you consider that these are people with an overall understanding of safety,” said CGA President Bob Kipp. “It is information like this that illustrates the need for a National Safe Digging Month and serves as a reminder to all Americans that potential dangers that are out of sight shouldn’t also be out of mind.”

As part of National Safe Digging Month, CGA encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

  • Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for lines to be marked.
  • Confirm with your local one-call center that all lines have been marked.
  • Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent at http://www.call811.com/faqs.
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
  • If another location is not viable, respect the marks and avoid using mechanized digging equipment near them.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

About CGA

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage-prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at http://www.commongroundalliance.com.

About the study

International Communications Research (ICR) conducted a national omnibus phone study between March 11 and 16, 2010, on behalf of CGA. A total of 749 American homeowners ages 18+ were asked for their opinions on home and property improvement project topics. The survey had a margin of error that varied from +-2.2 percent to +-5.7 percent, depending on the particular survey question.

    Media Contact:

    Khrysanne Kerr

This press release was issued through eReleases(R). For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Common Ground Alliance

Source: newswire

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