April is National Safe Digging Month: Simple rules to dig safely

Close up of gardener planting tree, digging with spade. (Photo: iStock - Halyna Bobyk)

As Kansans are planning for spring or to celebrate Arbor Day or Earth Day with a new tree, Black Hills Energy has numerous helpful tips to make sure you’re not the neighbor that knocks out the power—or worse—when doing spring projects like planting trees.

Simple rules for safe digging at home and for contractors include to call 811 before you dig. This quick call will notify all utilities in your area of your plans to dig. You can also submit an online request. Make sure to do this at least two full business days before you dig. On average, seven utility operators are notified for each request.

A second rule is to pre-mark where you plan to dig using white paint, stakes or flags. Marking the site will help utility locators understand your plans and reduce the chance of project delays if the locator must return to locate additional areas.

A third rule is to respect the marks. Carefully hand dig with a shovel within the tolerance zone of 18 inches or greater depending on the pipe size rather than using heavy equipment.

A fourth rule is not to rely on old line-locate marks. If you do not dig within 10 business days of having utility lines marked, contact Kansas 811 again. Line locators will return to remark the lines within two days at no charge.

PHOTO: Close up of gardener planting tree, digging with spade. (iStock – Halyna Bobyk)