Excavator Training

EXCAVATOR SAFETY

Training Course

The online excavator training tool is a FREE, self-paced tool that should take around 45 minutes to complete and provides an overview of the law, requirements, and how to dig safely. The course will provide a certificate upon completion. 

Course Curriculum Includes:

Excavator Safety Training Course Introduction

- Introduction & Importance of Alabama 811 in Excavation Safety
- Reasons to Utilize the 811 Service
- Course Goals
Law Highlights

Important details of the law for project managers, general contractors, or subcontractors such as:

- Notice of intent to excavate or demolish requirements
- Design/survey locate requests
- Operator requirements to respond to marking requests
- Responsibilities in case of damages
- and more...
Excavator's Obligations

When to utilize the 811 service, the methods of entering locate requests, and additional features/benefits such as streamlining the process, and bi-lingual capabilities (Spanish) and more...
Locate Ticket Types

Types and details of locate tickets including:

- Normal / Routine locate requests
- Life of a locate ticket
- Emergency locate requests
- Update tickets & refresh markings
- Damage tickets & reporting requirements
- Survey locate requests
Utility Responsibilities

Obligations of utilities covering response, marking facilities, and positive response.

Handling non-response situations, understanding the color codes, and public vs. private utilities.
Excavator Best Practices

- Working within the Tolerance Zone
- Non-invasive excavation methods
- Providing accurate locate request information
- How to plan for a smooth process
- Dealing with a damage
Enforcement Process

Information on how violations of the law in Alabama related to marking utilities and excavation through the Alabama Underground Damage Prevention Authority are enforced.

Common violations and enforcement actions in the context of excavation work including violations filed by excavators, and violations filed by utilities.
Additional Resources & Support

Information on resources available on the website, education materials, promo items, reports, Spanish resources, media (logos, artwork, videos available for download), and more...

Details and contact information for the Damage Prevention Team and their various responsibilities.

In-Person Education Meeting

If you would like to schedule an in-person education meeting, safety meeting, etc., visit the link below to get information and get started.  

Groups of 20 more are preferred for in-person meetings. 

The Benefits of White Lining in Excavation Projects

White Lining

When it comes to excavation projects, effectively communicating the exact location of the dig site is crucial for avoiding damage and ensuring safety. While providing the address is important, it’s equally essential to include specific descriptions within the site address, such as directions, distances, and references to accurately pinpoint the excavation area. This is where white lining plays a significant role.

What is white lining?

White lining is the practice of outlining the proposed area of excavation with either white paint or white flags prior to the arrival of the locator(s). It saves the facility locators time on-site and helps ensure that the entire area of excavation is located properly. Alabama 811 strongly encourages the process whenever possible. 

How to white line

FULL LINE

FOUR CORNER

DASH LINE

RADIUS or ARC

Benefits of White lining

Decrease avoidable damages

White lining has been proven to decrease avoidable damages in all utilities, resulting in substantial cost savings. 

Increases productivity

By marking the excavation boundaries with white paint or flags, white lining enhances productivity, reduces wasted time and effort during the call-before-you-dig process, and improves worksite safety by increasing accuracy and allowing locators to focus on the designated work area.

Reduces wait times

White lining also guides locators to spend time locating underground utilities accurately. By clearly indicating the excavation area, less time is wasted on non-essential areas, enabling locators to focus on protecting the facilities that need attention during excavation. This ultimately enhances worksite safety and minimizes the risk of accidents.

Increased worksite satisfaction

In addition to these advantages, white lining offers several other benefits. It ensures worksites are located with greater accuracy, allowing work to commence on time with fewer delays. This, in turn, reduces overall payroll costs by eliminating the need for additional manpower due to inefficiencies. By eliminating guesswork or misinterpretation, white lining increases customer satisfaction and avoids misunderstandings.

A Contractor’s Perspective

“White paint can be an excellent communication tool between the excavator and utility locator. Both parties can benefit. From the excavator’s perspective, it can clearly communicate the exact areas needed and eliminate a large percentage of confusion an call-backs. From a locator’s perspective, white paint clearly communicates the needed area, and helps provide a potentially more accurate locate, as well as a potentially timelier locate, by eliminating excess areas not necessarily needed.”

McKay Lyvers, Damage Prevention Education Manager-Alabama 811

Using White Flags for Excavation Marking

Sometimes white flags are chosen to be used along with, or instead of white paint for excavation marking. The choice is often driven by practical considerations. White flags allow for easy repositioning and adjustments to the designated area. This proves beneficial in situations where project plans may change or evolve.

Additionally, white flags may be advantageous in scenarios where diverse terrains or varying lighting conditions may compromise the visibility of painted markings. Overall, the use of white flags emerges as a flexible, adaptable, and visible solution for effective excavation pre-marking and white lining.

White lining is a simple yet powerful practice that significantly improves excavation projects

By taking the time to mark the excavation area with white paint or flags, excavators enhance worksite safety, increase productivity, reduce damages, and streamline the one-call process. Embracing white lining as a best practice in excavation projects will not only protect underground utilities but also save time, money, and resources while ensuring worksite satisfaction.

GeoRemote Training Videos and emergency tickets

Tier 3 GeoRemote online ticket entry training

including Emergency Tickets

This multi-part series will allow excavators to self-train on how to submit tickets using the ticket entry WebPortal. Successful completion of this training will allow users to advance to Tier 3 GeoRemote status so that a locate request ticket number is automatically assigned and transmitted directly to the Alabama 811 members listed on the locate request ticket.

Course Video Instructions

Users will have 30 days to complete each of the 6 training videos. Training is not considered complete if 100% is not scored on each of the video quizzes.

Once Alabama 811 has verified successful course completion, the user will be sent an email letting them know that their user permissions have been adjusted to reflect Tier 3 GeoRemote status.
*The verification process may take a full business day to complete

Please review the Ticket Entry Guidelines before beginning the training series videos.

While locate requests submitted by Tier 3 users are not processed by a CSR, tickets submitted by these users are screened regularly to ensure notices are submitted correctly. A copy of the Quality Assurance Process can be found HERE.

Please contact Jennifer Pickle (jpickle@al811.com) for assistance

GeoRemote Training Videos

Tier 3 GeoRemote online ticket entry training

This multi-part series will allow excavators to self-train on how to submit tickets using the ticket entry WebPortal. Successful completion of this training will allow users to advance to Tier 3 GeoRemote status so that a locate request ticket number is automatically assigned and transmitted directly to the Alabama 811 members listed on the locate request ticket.

Course Video Instructions

Users will have 30 days to complete each of the 6 training videos. Training is not considered complete if 100% is not scored on each of the video quizzes.

Once Alabama 811 has verified successful course completion, the user will be sent an email letting them know that their user permissions have been adjusted to reflect Tier 3 GeoRemote status.
*The verification process may take a full business day to complete

Please review the Ticket Entry Guidelines before beginning the training series videos.

While locate requests submitted by Tier 3 users are not processed by a CSR, tickets submitted by these users are screened regularly to ensure notices are submitted correctly. A copy of the Quality Assurance Process can be found HERE.

Please contact Jennifer Pickle (jpickle@al811.com) for assistance

GeoRemote Ticket Entry

GeoRemote Ticket Entry

24/7 online access to submit locate requests

Alabama 811’s online WebPortal ticket entry program has expanded the way excavators are able to submit notification of their pending excavation activity; by allowing users to bypass a phone call and submit their excavation site information directly to Alabama 811 and/or our utility members by simply filling out a locate request form via the WebPortal.

Want to learn how to submit your tickets online?

Training classes are FREE and take about 30-45 minutes to complete.

Topics Covered:

  • Required ticket information
  • WebPortal features
  • Renewing existing tickets
  • Copying existing tickets

Why sign-up for Tier 3?


The initial permission setting for the Alabama 811 WebPortal program allows excavators to entire their tickets through our Tier 2 entry-level program, without training, An Alabama 811 Call Center Agent will review the accuracy of the information entered on each ticket submitted by Tier 2 entry-level users.

TIER 2

Initial permission setting
  • Tickets can be entered 24/7*
  • Receive confirmation email containing ticket number
  • Can submit 2 working day notice, excluding the day of notification
  • Can renew tickets online
  • Access to Mobile App
  • Tickets processed immediately
  • Can submit Emergency
  • Can submit Short Notice
  • Training is required
  • Marking the map is required

TIER 3

FREE Training required
  • Tickets can be entered 24/7*
  • Receive confirmation email containing ticket number
  • Can submit 2 working day notice, excluding the day of notification
  • Can renew tickets online
  • Access to Mobile App
  • Tickets processed immediately
  • Can submit Emergency
  • Can submit Short Notice
  • Training is required
  • Marking the map is required

Online Locate Request Ticket Entry Training

Select one of the three available training options

Training classes are FREE and take about 30-45 minutes to complete.

Individuals or small groups can request to attend a live online training session

To schedule an online training class; please select a day and time for the class you wish to attend, then fill out the user information section. Once your form is received, we will send you a link to the webinar. *All class times are Central Standard Time.

This is a date & time REQUEST only. We will contact you with information and links for the webinar.

Train at your own pace by watching several short videos and successfully completing the quiz included with each session.

Users are given a 30-day window to successfully complete the training.

Request a training session at your office place or at the Alabama 811 office in Fultondale, Alabama.

811 for the Ag community

811 for the Ag community

Farming operations have the potential for catastrophic outcomes when it comes to hitting buried utilities. Whether it’s a gas line, electrical cable, or water pipe, damaging these underground utilities can have far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

Contacting 811 can help protect your farm, family, and your community 

Tips to Remember

Never assume the location of a buried utility or attempt to mark it yourself

Regulations require that only utility company employees or its representatives are approved and qualified to mark a buried utility. Contacting 811 will notify the utility operator that you intend to work in the area of their underground utility and provide them an opportunity to check the depth of the utility to determine if additional actions are needed such as adding cover, lowering utility, or other special requirements.

Become familiar with the 811 system and the State's one call laws

For example, the utility company representative may be required to stand by to ensure work performed near a utility is done safely.

Contact 811 before any deep plowing, ripping, fence building, or drain tiling

It’s FREE, it’s SIMPLE, & it’s THE LAW

Wait for the utility company to mark

Don’t just rely on permanent underground utility markers to identify the location of buried utilities. These markers indicate the general location, not the exact location,
the depth, or the number of utilities.

Be sure to wait for the utility company to mark its utility. Once you have waited the required amount of time, verify that all utilities have responded to the request (check Positive Response). Some utility companies have heightened safety measures and may need to be on-site when work begins.

When working around utilities, be sure to dig with hand-digging tools to expose the utility

Use hand-digging tools to expose the utility when working around utilities. Dig with care using appropriate hand digging or vacuum excavation tools to expose the underground utility for your safety. Backhoes, augers, and other mechanical equipment should not be used when digging near utility lines. The utility company will instruct you on the proper
methods while working around their utility. Be sure to know the tolerance zone and never remove flags stakes or paint marks until you finish digging.

Know what to do if there is a damage or leak

Notify the utility company & Alabama 811 right away if you dent, scrape, or damage ANY type of underground line while digging. The damaged facility will be inspected &, if needed, repaired to prevent future consequences.

If the damage results in escaping flammable, corrosive, explosive, or toxic liquid or gas, immediately leave the area in an upwind direction & direct others to stay away. Once you’re in a safe location, dial 911 first, notify the utility company, & then report the damage to Alabama 811. Never continue to operate mechanical equipment in an area where you suspect a gas leak. This could cause an ignition putting you in great danger.

Myths

Myth # 1

811 is only for digging 

The definition of “normal farming practices” can be interpreted in many ways and varies between states. So, contacting 811 before any digging project is always the safe thing to do!

Some agricultural examples of when to contact 811 include:

  • drain tile installation projects
  • chisel plowing
  • subsoiling
  • deep ripping
  • building a waterway
  • digging fence posts
  • drilling water or irrigation wells
  • etc..

Myth # 2

“I know where the utilities are / I’ve contacted 811 before..”

The depth of pipelines and other utilities can change over time due to natural forces such as erosion or other dirt-moving activities. Or perhaps new facilities were installed since the last time you contacted 811.

DON’T make a risky assumption. Contact 811 Every time you plan on digging.

Myth # 3

“I’m not digging very deep..”

It is better to be safe than sorry, even for a small project.

811 will notify the proper utility companies so that they can have an employee or representative come out and locate the approximate location of the utilities before you dig.

Myth # 4

“Calling 811 will cost me time and money.”

Contacting 811 is FREE to you!  – The cost is paid by utility companies to protect you.

After notifying 811, professional utility locators will visit your site within the 2 working day notice (life-of-ticket example)

Myth # 5

“If I hit a pipeline and nothing happens, there’s nothing to worry about..”

Even if it appears that the utility isn’t damaged, always call and notify the utility company.

Even a small dent, scrape, gouge, or scratch in a pipeline or other apparently minor damages could cause a major problem in the future.

Contact 811 to get your underground utilities marked everytime before you dig

The fact is, underneath much of America’s farmland lies buried pipeline and utilities. These utilities may carry natural gas or oil, electricity, communication lines, or water. Any one of these utilities struck during a farming operation can cause dangerous consequences for you, your family, tenants, hired hands, your neighbors, your community, and the environment, possibly impacting your farm for years.

811 tips for excavators

811 Tips for Excavators

The damage prevention industry has many moving parts. Each stakeholder plays an important role in making the 811 process work effectively. If everyone involved works to make their area of responsibility more efficient, the entire 811 system will be able to function like a well-oiled machine.

The 811 System can only  work efficiently when we work together

Ways You Can Help

Provide Quality Information

Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information when starting a ticket

✓ Assess your route or excavation site
✓ Gather all your information
✓ Premark the location with white paint

Let the utility owners know if

  • you will need to be on site
  • pets are in the area
  • Gate code or locked gates

When making a call for notification or placing an online locate request to Alabama 811, please have the Proper Notification Procedures information available.

  • Name, phone number, address of the person who is digging
  • Name, phone number and email address of the person submitting the locate request
  • Name, phone number, and email address of the site contact
  • Who the work is being done for
  • Proposed starting date of the work
  • Nature of work
  • Type of equipment being used
  • If explosives are being used as well as if you will be doing any directional boring
  • City and County where work is taking place
  • Address and/or driving directions to the work location
  • Nearest cross street
  • Work site locate instructions
  • GPS if applicable
  • Any other information that will help utility operators mark their underground facilities near your work site

Be Specific About Location & Dimensions

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Give Good Contact Name & Phone #

Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information when starting a ticket

  • Providing good contact information sounds obvious, but many tickets are received with a bad phone number or a phone that goes straight to a voicemail box that is full.

  • To avoid delays, provide the contact information for someone who is on-site or familiar with the dig-site and schedule.
  • Providing good contact information sounds obvious, but many tickets are received without a name or phone number.

  • To avoid delays, provide the contact information for someone who is on-site or familiar with the dig-site and schedule.

Give Accurate Description of Work Being Performed

  • Make sure to provide an accurate description of the work being performed.

  • Providing more detail enables locators to address internal concerns in advance, arrive better prepared, and get straight to business.

  • In the case of an apartment complex, or specific lot numbers, individual building or lot numbers should go on different tickets. Since these building numbers or lot numbers cannot be related to a specific address, they require different notifications.

  • When excavation involves more than one street, When working at an intersection, the intersection can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down one street, then that information can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down two streets, the second street requires another notification.

  • Provide accurate driving directions with distances and cardinal headings (North, South, East, West) when working in rural areas.
  • Make sure to provide an accurate description of the work being performed.

  • Providing more detail enables locators to address internal concerns in advance, arrive better prepared, and get straight to business.

  • In the case of an apartment complex, or specific lot numbers, individual building or lot numbers should go on different tickets. Since these building numbers or lot numbers cannot be related to a specific address, they require different notifications.

  • When excavation involves more than one street, When working at an intersection, the intersection can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down one street, then that information can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down two streets, the second street requires another notification.

  • Provide accurate driving directions with distances and cardinal headings (North, South, East, West) when working in rural areas.

Manage Ticket Quantity

  • In addition to improving the quality of information you provide, we also ask that you manage the quantity of your requests.

  • For larger projects, the area noted on the request should be no more than what can be worked during the 20 working day period.

  • §37-15-4 (h) (Section 37-15-4) Except for those persons submitting design or survey locate requests, no person, including operators, shall request markings of a site unless excavation is scheduled to commence. In addition, no person shall make repeated requests for remarking, unless the repeated request is required for excavating to continue or due to circumstances not reasonably within the control of the person.

Give Sufficient Notice & Eliminate Unnecessary Requests

  • It’s important that you request utility locates with sufficient notice to be marked, but not more than you can reasonably begin within the life of the ticket.

  • Too many tickets at once can put a strain on the system and keep locators from getting to more time-sensitive sites. So, avoid requesting “backup” sites to be marked, or creating “just in case” tickets.

  • Active tickets should match the actual schedule of the work being performed and follow the requirements in your state dig law.

  • Indicate the Date and Time you plan to start the work. It is very important not to begin work prior to the legal start date and time. The legal start date and time is two working days, not counting the day of notification, after the notification was made based on proposed date of excavation. “Working Day” is a 24-hour period commencing the beginning of the start of the next working day from the time of receipt of the notification, excluding Saturday, Sunday and the nine holidays outlined in the Alabama Code Title §37 Chapter 15 Section 1-11 Underground Damage Prevention Legislation.

  • Notification of excavation can be up to 10 working days prior to the start of excavation and up to 30 working days prior to demolition.

  • Locate information is dispatched to the member underground facility operators. The member underground facility owners, or their representatives, will mark their buried facility by the legal due date and time.

Remove Completed Requests

  • Avoid locate renewals and remarks on jobs that have been completed.

  • Often locate requests are updated or refreshed long after work has been finished.

  • This causes locators to spend time marking inactive job sites when they could be marking active ones.

  • §37-15-4 (h) No person shall make repeated requests for remarking, unless
    the repeated request is required for excavating to continue or due to circumstances not reasonably within the control of the person.

811 Tips for facility owners and operators

811 Tips for Facility Owners & Operators

The damage prevention industry has many moving parts. Each stakeholder plays an important role in making the 811 process work effectively. If everyone involved works to make their area of responsibility more efficient, the entire 811 system will be able to function like a well-oiled machine.

The 811 System can only  work efficiently when we work together

The role of the Facility Owner/Operator is vital to the Damage Prevention Industry. Most of your responsibility involves locating and marking lines. Whether you do this yourself or hire a locate partner, be sure to watch this video for ways to make the process more efficient.

FACILITY OWNER/OPERATORS & LOCATE PARTNERS CAN HELP

Damage Prevention Starts Early

Accurately Record Where Cable/Wires are First Placed

Locating & Marking

  • Implement Software/Utilize Online Portals
  • Look for New Ways to Improve Efficiency/Accuracy
  • Provide On-Time Response & Accurate Locates
  • Make Marking Highly Visible, Factor in Weather/Terrain
  • Provide Good Contact Information
  • Keep Mapping Data Up to Date

Foster Relationships & Partnerships

Keep Good Lines of Communication with Other Stakeholders