As the head of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, I oversaw the creation of the national 811 single-call system for assistance in locating utility lines. The establishment of this free system has helped reduce many potential dangers from digging near underground utility lines by ensuring the safety of the community through industry expertise and assistance. But there is more yet to do.
Safety must always take priority in the daily functioning and policies of utility companies, from the CEO to the worker in the field. Despite recent industry innovations making excavation risks easy to track and avoid, utilities, contractors and communities alike continue to experience an unacceptably high rate of excavation-related underground utility accidents.
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