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Toolbox Talk: Utility Locate Requirements

By April 4, 2022 No Comments
Construction Company, Garco, Washington

There are often deadly hazards lurking underground on excavation sites. Rupturing or breaking underground utilities such as electrical power cables and pipelines can result in serious injuries or even death.

In the Ground

  • Before any digging takes place, even with a shovel, utility locates are required
    • Some lines are barely beneath the surface
  • Locates include sewer, telephone, fuel, electric and water lines
  • Outline/mark your planned dig site in white
  • Two business days before you dig, CALL 811
    • Remember, the day you call does not count
  • Do not dig until all known utilities are marked
  • Maintain all marks
  • Determine the precise location of the marked utilities by hand digging
  • Dig safely using proven excavating methods
  • Use handheld digging tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of any underground lines
  • Emergency excavation is not exempt from calling for locate
  • Locate marks expire 45 days from the date the excavator provides notice
  • Use pot-holing, vacuum excavation, or hand tools when digging close to lines

Best Practices for Maintaining Locate Marks

  • Preserve or protect as much of the original marks as possible
  • Use off-set staking, in areas where original locate marks will be continuously destroyed by excavation or weather
  • The off-set staking must be uniformly aligned and must be accurately indicated at the location of the original locate markings
  • Digital scaled photo, or other permanent scaled imaging or drawings, may be used in areas where original locate marks will be destroyed by excavation or weather
  • Use white paint to maintain the original markings
  • Bookend the original locate marks with solid white squares or brackets

Remember, we’re raising the bar on safety!

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