An excavator is any person proposing or engaging in digging or demolition work. This includes property owners, tenants, farmers, and professional contractors. Excavators are responsible for ensuring pipelines and other underground facilities are not damaged when digging.
Excavation damage is a leading cause of significant pipeline accidents…resulting in property damage, injuries, and fatalities. Severe excavation damage results in an immediate release while less severe damage can weaken a pipe and contribute to a future pipeline failure.
Whether excavating with a shovel or a four-ton backhoe -- damage prevention must be a top priority. Everyone who excavates or digs must contact their state’s one-call system so that underground facilities can be located before excavation begins.
All states have damage prevention laws and may involve fines and penalties for noncompliance. Some states still allow exemption of certain excavators from one-call requirements. Eliminating these exemptions is one of PHMSA’s top priorities.
Learn more about what excavators can do to impact pipeline safety.