Utility contacts can be costly—and deadly. Implementing the simple steps outlined below can help you and your crew work safely around electric and natural gas utilities.
- Carefully examine the site for overhead power lines, taking extra care to look for any that may be masked by foliage or otherwise blocked from view.
- Mark a safety boundary to keep workers and equipment a safe distance away—at least 10 feet—from power lines. Consult Xcel Energy or www.osha.gov for specific clearance requirements.
- Use a spotter whose only job is to watch your equipment and make sure you maintain the mandatory clearances.
- Carry long equipment parallel to the ground until you’re ready to use it. Always stay the required distance away from power lines.
- Call 811 two to three business days in advance (per your state’s required time frame) when your project involves digging, blasting, boring, trenching, drilling, grading or excavating. Your call arranges for Xcel Energy to locate and mark its buried electric and gas lines.
- Respect the markings; confirm all facility owners have responded to the request. Notify Xcel Energy or your one-call center with any questions or concerns about the markings.
- Adhere to your state’s mandated tolerance zones and expose the facility using reasonable care or proper hand-digging tools and techniques to safely verify the depth of buried utilities.
- Underground lines owned or installed by customers cannot be marked (such as lines to a barbecue grill, garage or pool). Property owners are responsible for marking and maintaining these types of lines. Third-party contractors, such as plumbing and heating professionals, can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing the customer's buried piping.
Additional overhead and digging guidelines, case studies, instructional videos and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Xcel Energy’s e-SMARTworkers website.
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