As it begins to get warmer and the rain subsides, many people will start various outdoor projects.
Often, not much thought is given by homeowners to projects that involve digging on their property. Across the country, more than two hundred thousand underground utility lines are accidentally hit during excavation projects. Unfortunately, injuries are common, sadly sometimes resulting in death.
Even if you are only planting trees and bushes, you should contact Call Before You Dig at 8-1-1. Call Before You Dig, or CBYD, is a free service that allows Connecticut residents, landscapers construction workers and corporations to make sure their dig sites are clear of electrical cables, gas and oil lines, communications wiring, water plumbing and sewer pipes. Federal legislation will soon be creating a nationwide service through dialing 8-1-1.
For those digging with mechanized equipment, State and Federal law mandate that they clear the dig site with CBYD. Failure to do so could lead to a fine or, in the case of reckless conduct, jail time. No matter how you are digging, the consequences of breaking an underground power, gas or communications line should be sufficient enough incentive to call.
Breaking a power or gas line could lead to a devastating personal injury. A shovel that cuts a natural gas line can also strike a nearby rock, providing the spark to ignite the gas. This has even occurred by a lawn mower that nicked the gas line inlet. Electrical lines have a potential to electrocute when punctured. Additionally, the utility line will need repair, which will require a construction crew and probably much more of your property being dug up. In the end, you may be liable for the cost of such repairs.
There are two ways in which you can clear your prospective dig site with CBYD. The first is by calling them directly at 1-800-922-4455 or simply 8-1-1. The other is by applying for a permit via an e-ticket on CBYD.com. The State asks that you call or apply at least two business days before you dig.
If you would like to keep up to date on the future of CBYD and related technology, CBYD will be sponsoring the Annual Utility Expo on September 28th, 2011 in Southington, CT. The expo will feature speakers from State agencies and utility companies, as well as demonstrations and exhibits.
It is important that we stay mindful of potential hazards that can cause us great physical harm or death, so we can take the appropriate safety measures to avoid these situations.
Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state. He has been named a Connecticut Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut"; and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents." He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.