It’s not uncommon to come across the “811 Call Before You Dig” reminder on safety and ID products.

It’s a relatively straightforward message from the Common Ground Alliance, but the thought behind the statement is worth discussing, especially when considering adding it to your labels or other ID products.

What are call before you dig hotlines? 

Reaching out to 811 is considered the first step in the damage prevention process. In most areas in the United States, calling 811 puts you in contact with your respective utility provider.

When you call, a representative collects information about the digging site and project. The representative gives that information to the appropriate utility company, and then local utility workers will go out and mark the digging site with the locations of utility lines. The goal of marking the lines is to help avoid service disruptions, costly repairs, and possibly bodily injury.

Call Before You Dig hotlines let you know if it’s safe to dig in your area and if its not, help you locate (and ultimately avoid) potential strike-risks.

Why calling 811 is encouraged 

Accidental contact with underground utility lines is one of the most potentially hazardous situations in residential areas or construction sites.

Hitting an underground utility line while digging can negatively impact the environment and cause serious personal injuries.

Whether you’re a homeowner planning to dig on your property or a contractor hired to complete a project on someone else’s property, the first step should always be calling 811.

Every state in the U.S. has a law about locating utility lines before digging, the specifics vary from state to state, but the punishment for not calling can range from a slap on the wrist up to $50,000 worth of fines plus the cost of repairs.

Excavation damages have significantly decreased because of initiatives like 811. The service is free to use, takes little time, and prevents unnecessary issues.

When to use call before you dig reminders

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of Call Before You Dig, you might be wondering when to add it to your utility ID products to help remind the public to call before they dig.

Utilizing the 811 Call Before You Dig reminder on your products is extremely important. 811 brand awareness and initiative recognition reached an all-time high in 2020.

Putting this messaging on your safety and ID products helps raise awareness, keeping communities safer, and preventing potential damage to utility lines.

A good rule of thumb is to include the 811 logo and messaging on identification assets for any area with underground distribution equipment that could be considered a digging hazard.  

As mentioned above, every state has a different law and enforcement level when locating utility lines before digging.

Depending on your location, looking up your state’s guidelines, or calling the local hotline is a great place to start your project.

The Electromark difference

Electromark offers multiple stock products that include Call Before You Dig warnings and can also customize any product to have the official 811 logo.

Reach out to our application engineer or customer service team if you have any product design questions or concerns.

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