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Call Before You Dig

What You Need to Know about Power Lines Before You Work

One of the most potentially hazardous electrical situations in industrial plants and on construction sites is accidental contact with overhead or underground wiring. Protection from contact with overhead wiring is provided best by ISOLATION, or distance. The covering on some overhead lines is weatherproofing; it is not intended to provide insulated protection from contact. This plastic coating may become brittle, making it easy to crack and fall off.

Operators of equipment like backhoes, dump trucks, bucket trucks, concrete pumpers and booms and cranes should be especially conscious of overhead wiring. The hazard of contact is also posed to workers on scaffolding or those handling or moving any type of long tools or equipment, like sections of metal pipe.

Before you begin any work, including construction, within 10 feet of an overhead electrical line carrying more than 750 volts, you should check your state laws, regulations and guidelines, and federal standards. The Code of Alabama requires that persons responsible for digging, excavation or blasting must provide at least three business days advance notice to the operators or owners of any underground facilities in the area.

It is important to call Alabama 811 before you dig because it provides you with protection from damage claims, injuries and lawsuits - not to mention downtime - that can result from digging, boring or blasting without being aware of underground facilities. It can also save Alabama residents the inconvenience of damaged facilities resulting in the loss of utility services. And in some cases, calling before you dig can even save lives!

Notification to Alabama Power can be made by calling Alabama 811 or 800-292-8525 (in Alabama) between: 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will be asked to give some information pertaining to your excavation site. Please have this information ready when you call to prevent unnecessary delays. There is no charge to the caller for this service. Alabama 811 is a non-profit organization and its voluntary membership includes the owners of most major underground facilities in Alabama. Alabama 811 will also accept notification calls for emergency excavations which need to commence sooner than three business days. Alabama 811 members will work to mark their lines for you as soon as possible.

For more information on Alabama 811, visit their website.

Alabama 811

The notice of the intent to dig or excavate is valid for a period of 14 calendar days and must include the following information:

  1. Name, address and phone number of the person responsible for the excavation or demolition
  2. Name of the person giving notice
  3. Proposed starting date and time of excavation
  4. Type of excavation or demolition work to be accomplished
  5. Location of the proposed excavation or demolition with sufficient details to enable the operator to locate the site with reasonable certainty
  6. Whether explosives will be used at the site

After you call Alabama 811 and provide all the necessary information, you will be given a reference number, which you should keep. Remember, if you have not completed your excavation work within a two-week period, you will need to renew your excavation or demolition (ticket) information with Alabama 811, so they can notify member utilities that work is still under way at that job site.

Alabama 811 will be able to tell you exactly which member utilities will be notified for your job site. It is a good idea to ask which utilities will be notified to ensure that there are not any non-member companies that you will need to contact on your own.

The information you provide to Alabama 811 will be transmitted to all the member companies with facilities in the area of your excavation activities. The member companies will then send trained personnel to your job site to stake or mark the underground lines. Alabama 811 members will use the standard color codes for your convenience.

Color Codes
Color coding for locating utility lines is as follows:
Red Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lightning cables
Yellow Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
Orange Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
Blue Water, irrigation and slurry lines
Green Sewers and drain lines
White Proposed excavation
Safety Tip

Safety Tip!

Electricity and water don’t mix. Keep anything electrically powered away from water and keep appliances away from sinks. Most accidents around the house happen when people use electricity near water.