Pipeline Safety Info > Pipeline Safety Info > Excavators
Who Is An Excavator
An excavator is any person proposing or engaging in digging or demolition work. This includes property owners, tenants, farmers, and professional contractors. Excavators are responsible for ensuring that pipelines and other underground facilities are not damaged when digging.
Excavation damage is a leading cause of significant pipeline accidents, resulting in property damage, injuries, and fatalities. Severe excavation damage results in an immediate release, while less severe damage can weaken a pipe and contribute to a future pipeline failure.
Whether excavating with a shovel or a four-ton backhoe — damage prevention must be a top priority. Anyone who excavates or digs must contact their state’s One-Call system so that underground facilities can be located before excavation begins.
All states have damage prevention laws and may involve fines and penalties for noncompliance. Some states still allow exemption for certain excavators from One-Call requirements. Eliminating these exemptions is one of PHMSA’s top priorities.
Learn more about what excavators can do to promote pipeline safety by understanding the information on this website and using 811.
Excavator Best Practices
The leading cause of gas distribution system incidents has been external force damage during excavation work near pipelines. OPS invests considerable resources in the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to promote damage prevention. CGA members include all underground facility damage prevention stakeholders and CGA has assumed stewardship of these OPS initiatives:
Are You An American Locator?
One way or another, all excavators locate underground utilities. Check out our online damage prevention certification courses, including the specially-priced Excavator Damage Prevention package available here.