British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

June 06, 2008 09:00 ET

BC Safety Authority: Planning Yard Work? Call Before You Dig

BC Safety Authority corrects myths about safe digging in your yard

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 6, 2008) - It's that time of year when homeowners across BC are getting busy within their yards and gardens. Whether you are planning a new fence or deck, or simply planting a tree or shrub, you or your landscaping contractor risk digging into a gas line or other utilities buried under your property. So call before you dig.

"Many homeowners are not aware of what lies underneath their gardens and lawns," explained Wayne Lock, gas safety manager for the BC Safety Authority, the organization responsible for overseeing gas safety in British Columbia.

"Even digging for a fence post can be potentially dangerous if you don't know the location of gas or other underground utilities on your property," he said. "We want people to know how important it is to call BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886 before they or their contractor starts to dig."

The BC Safety Authority is correcting several myths about digging in your garden or yard:

Myth: I don't need to call before I dig if I'm digging with a shovel.

Fact: You can still pierce a natural gas line if you're digging with a shovel. Protect your home and family by calling BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886. They will let you know which facility owners have registered underground services on or near your site. Operators of those services will then contact you directly.

Myth: I don't have to worry about hitting underground utilities if I'm just digging a fencepost.

Fact: Natural gas, power, water, sewer and communications lines may be buried close to the surface. If you hit any of them, you will cause a potentially unsafe situation as well as disruption to your service.

If you are disturbing the soil for any reason, regardless of the depth, play it safe, make the call.

Myth: It's the contractor's responsibility to call before they dig.

Fact: It's your property and your responsibility. If your contractor hasn't called, stop the work and ask that he/she phone BC One Call. You may be liable for personal injury or property damage that results from work on your property.

Myth: Home gardeners don't pose a risk to underground natural gas pipes.

Fact: Even a shovel can pierce a gas line.

Myth: Hitting a natural gas line is more of an inconvenience than a real hazard to me.

Fact: You can create an unsafe situation or damage to your property if you hit a natural gas line.

Myth: Natural gas line hits are a rare occurrence.

Fact: There are thousands of natural gas line hits every year in Canada. In BC alone, gas lines were hit 1,700 times in 2006 - 70 per cent of damage to gas lines could possibly have been avoided by calling BC One Call.

Myth: If I know where my natural gas line is, I don't need to call.

Fact: There's more than natural gas lines buried under your yard. There's an entire network of utility lines including water and sewer lines, cable TV and phone lines, power cables and natural gas pipes.

Find out where the lines and pipes are located by calling BC One Call toll-free at 1-800-474-6886 or *6886 on your cellular. The service is provided at no cost to users.

Information can also be found on the BC Safety Authority website at www.safetyauthority.ca.

The BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded corporation that inspires safety excellence in British Columbia by partnering with business, industry and the general public to enhance the safety of technical systems, products, equipment and work.

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