Spring Weather Signals Start to Outdoor Projects; Gov. Whitmer Declares April Safe Digging Month in Michigan
JACKSON, Mich., April 3, 2019 /3BL Media/ - As leaves and green grass begin sprouting across the state, many Michiganders are planning outdoor digging such as landscaping projects and other home improvements. Dig Safely Month is designed to remind residents and excavators to take safe digging measures with every project, large or small.
"Safety is always our top priority. It doesn’t matter if the equipment used is a shovel, rototiller, auger or large earth-moving equipment, MISS DIG 811 should always be contacted first so underground utilities can be marked, and practicing safe digging procedures should follow,” said Garrick Rochow, senior vice president of operations for Consumers Energy. “We appreciate the support from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, MISS DIG 811 and other safe digging partners as we continue to emphasize to contact MISS DIG before a digging project begins.
Gov. Whitmer declared April as Safe Digging Month in Michigan, joining with MISS DIG 811, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and other utilities, the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan Legislature to urge Michigan residents, farmers and excavators to contact MISS DIG 811 before starting any digging project. It is the law, is free and easy to do by calling 8-1-1 or visiting www.missdig.org/.
While the law requires a contact to MISS DIG at least three working days in advance of using power digging equipment, those using shovels, picks or other hand tools should also always request free underground utility marking for their home or business.
Practicing safe digging can not only prevent damage and service interruptions for underground utilities like natural gas, electric, cable, fiber optic and water, but also helps keep those doing the work safe. No matter how small the digging job, from planting shrubs and other landscaping, installing fencing, to large road and building projects, a contact to MISS DIG 811 is required to safely complete a digging project.
In 2018 the total number of homeowner damages to Consumers Energy natural gas and electric lines was down 6 percent; however, the biggest reason damages continue to occur is because MISS DIG 811 wasn’t contacted before digging began. A total of 278 damages by residents occurred in 2018, down from 296 in 2017. The biggest increase in residential damages was due to fencing installation, though landscaping projects are also high on the damage list.
Rochow offered four key safe digging tips:
- Contact MISS DIG 811 at least three business days before digging to have underground utilities marked.
- Wait to dig until you are sure all lines are marked with flags and/or paint or cleared by the utility. Confirm this by calling MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or visiting response.missdig811.org
- Respect the marks and dig with care. If the project is within four feet of the marks, dig carefully with hand tools or modify your plans to be further from the marks. If using power equipment within four feet of the marks, always use a wooden handled tool to carefully expose the lines and confirm their exact location before starting to excavate.
- Be sure to contact MISS DIG 811 prior to digging if using a contractor, or be sure that person makes the contact.
“I remind all Michiganders as you move into spring and begin excavation projects to contact MISS DIG 811 to protect the safety of those digging as well as the many utilities located underground. Keep yourself, your neighbors and underground utilities safe, contact MISS DIG before you dig,” said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System Inc.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
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Media Contacts: Roger Morgenstern, 616-530-4364 or Terry DeDoes, 517-374-2159
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.