Groups urge use of call-in number before digging with construction equipment

Before digging, John Deere is urging people to call 811.
Before digging, John Deere is urging people to call 811.
Those who use construction equipment may be at threat with regard to where they dig, although a national hotline can give them the information they need to avoid a dangerous situation.

Officials from John Deere, the Department of Transportation and the Common Ground Alliance gathered recently to sound the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Their appearance was meant to remind people that digging into the ground without the proper information can lead to a serious injury or even fatalities.

The three groups stressed the existence of a national number - 811 - that people can call prior to any digging operation. According to the organizations, the instances of damage from hitting underground lines dropped 60 percent from 2004 to 2009, in part due to the work of the CGA.

"It's not enough that the number of strikes has decreased in each of the last five years, because even one strike is too many," CGA president Bob Kipp said.

There are a number of hazards people may encounter when they dig up ground with construction equipment. Along with buried power lines, machines could hit gas conduits or telecommunications structures.