Reducing damages to natural pipelines and distribution lines.

Everyone that digs is an excavator, including our natural gas industry. Underground damages are a top concern for our industry, not because of only operations challenges but because of public safety. Theses damages occur from simply digging with a shovel to operating a backhoe and other excavation equipment in the wrong location.

At this time there are too many damages in Florida, and luckily we haven’t had deaths or injuries like other states recently with damages to the pipelines or utilities. In a survey of our membership, between 35-64 percentage of damages to gas pipelines and distribution lines are a result of no locates being requested from the Sunshine 811 for underground work and the remaining are mostly because of insufficient excavation practices.

Stricter enforcement of Chapter 556 or the “Call Before You Dig” law is needed in Florida. First so we can protect our infrastructure and public, and second so we can ensure our compliance with federal regulations on pipeline safety.

The members of the Florida Natural Gas Association continue to work with the legislature to assist us in reducing these damages through increased enforcement of Chapter 556. Along with this effort the Florida Natural Gas Association is educating firefighters across the state on the best practices on response for damages so we can keep them safe as they work to keep communities safe.

Promote safe digging practices

Everyone, please remember to call 811 before you dig! Sunshine 811 also offers a variety of useful resources to help you learn about and promote safe digging practices. Be sure to check out the Sunshine 811 website for 811 Process Videos, which cover a variety of procedural and basic topics. Or visit the 811 Learning Center to find various other resources.