Why call before you dig?

Don Masterson will tell you why. In this video, the veteran farmer shares his story of a chilling close call. He “over-ruled” his son and grandson, who wanted to call 811, because he had a survey that showed a straight pipeline. He was in a hurry.

“I was lucky once and I wouldn’t want to be in those shoes again,” he says on the video posted by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association @CNLA_ACPP on Twitter.

It’s a message for major construction employers and homeowners. Call BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886 “…whether you’re excavating on a job site or digging in your own garden, find out where gas lines and buried utilities are before you dig,” warns FortisBC.

FortisBC, WorkSafeBC, and other partners are providing these important safety reminders for industry and the public online at The Safety Zone – where you will find downloadable posters that can get conversations started at work, school, and in the community.

“The call is free, and it could save your life,” they remind us.

Read more on employers’ responsibilities in the OHS Regulatation Guidelines Part 20: Excavations.

Natural gas smells like rotten eggs or sulphur

So act fast if you smell it. “Leave the premises immediately and call 911 or the FortisBC 24-hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911,” reads the Safety Zone.

More info on gas lines and other utilities is available from Manitoba Hydro in Electrical Safety on the Farm.


3 thoughts on “Why call before you dig?

  1. Liv

    Sometimes it is life saving and sometimes it’s just gross (and money) saving. Colleagues of mine hit a high pressure sewer-line. You can imagine the fun of being blasted with high pressure sewage.
    We often like to do a subsurface utilities check in addition to the BC One Call, as some installations are not captured in the BCOneCall, but are listed in the cities engineering files…and always, always proceed with caution anyway. Lines can be a few meters off at times. For very dangerous ones (like some gas lines) we give them a 40 meter berth if possible. For home owners, where the property has changed hands even the city may not have lines listed, especially where the homeowner was a DIY’er, making subsurface checks even more important.

  2. amfriesen

    yes, we are on old property that has changed hands and the last owner was a DIYer – we got drawings through BC One Call but proceeded with caution – we think the top soil was taken out as the lines should have been much deeper, this is one thing BC One Call did not have information on (true depth)

    don’t forget about overhead as well especially if you are doing landscaping in all directions – be careful when taking vines off of poles and overhead lines especially if using a ladder


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