Directional Drilling
Look out for overhead power lines
Survey your job site every day to find overhead power lines, poles and guy wires, and point them out to coworkers. Be alert for lines hidden by trees and buildings.
Consider all overhead power lines energized and potentially dangerous. Injuries or death may result from contact with any power line, even the service lines that run from utility poles to buildings.
Always maintain a minimum 10-foot safety clearance from power lines, plus the length of any tools or equipment you are using. Metal ladders, cranes and some other specialized equipment require at least 20 feet of clearance and encroachment prevention precautions.
Higher voltages also may require greater distances. Contact osha.gov for specific requirements. Before work begins, call Xcel Energy at 1.800.895.1999 to verify voltages and request overhead assistance.
Clearly mark boundaries with tape, signs or barricades, and use a dedicated spotter to keep equipment the required distance away.
Dig safely
Hitting a buried utility facility has serious consequences. Contacting an underground power line can result in electrical injuries and power outages. And even just scraping a buried natural gas pipeline could lead to a fire or explosion.
Notify 811 before you dig. If the job involves digging or moving earth in any way—such as digging foundations, setting postholes or removing tree stumps—be sure to notify 811 before starting your excavation. Call 811 or place an online ticket request. Then wait the required time in your state for underground utility facilities to be marked before digging, so you can dig a safe distance away.
Pre-mark your excavation site with white paint, flags and/or stakes and describe it clearly on your locate request.
Hand dig to carefully expose the facilities and verify their precise location, using soft excavation methods: hand digging or vacuum equipment. Follow state laws for digging within the "tolerance zone" or "caution zone."
Report any contact with underground natural gas or electric utilties to the appropriate local utility provider. Even a small nick, scrape or dent to a natural gas line could compromise the integrity of the pipeline and may endanger your crew and the public. Any damage or break to an underground electric line coating could weaken the line and cause an electric fault or possible service outage.
Call 911 and the local natural gas utility immediately if gas is leaking. It's the law!
Xcel Energy has a Stop Work policy when observing unsafe behavior. We encourage you and the contracting community to empower your workers to stop all work immediately when an unsafe condition is identified.
Would you like to know more?
Additional overhead and digging guidelines, emergency procedures, case studies, instructional videos and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you on Xcel Energy's e-SMARTworkers website.
Everyone's resources have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help prevent located delays by pre-marking your proposed dig area in white and notifying 811 of your planned excavation with as much lead time as is possible in your state.

To learn more about Xcel Energy’s response to COVID-19, click here.
To reach your state's underground utility service/one-call center, call 811 or visit their online site by clicking on your state's name below.
The required "business day" wait time for each state is as follows (excludes weekends and legal holidays):
811 Konw what’s below. | Call before you dig.
Xcel Energy is a founding member of the Gold Shovel Standard, which is a first-of-its-kind, two-part excavation safety program. The program both certifies an excavator's policies and procedures against the Gold Shovel Standard, and publishes a score or rating, known as an EICO™ score, which is an ongoing measure of an excavator's excavation-safety worthiness. It is a novel and ambitious program on a North American scale to dramatically reduce damages from excavation to buried asset networks. To find out more about the Gold Shovel Standard, please visit goldshovelstandard.org/industry/excavators.