Safe Digging Message Resources

Help spread the Safe Digging Message!

Toolkit & Assets

Here are tools that focus on promoting safe digging to the general public and professionals. You may use these in your campaigns and activities. 

Images + Infographics

Logos & Taglines

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS:

ALL FILES DOWNLOAD

All logos and taglines, including the source file (.eps)

Videos

Feel free to use or share these on your social media, website, & more.

“Don’t Risk it”

15-seconds

“Avoid damages to underground utilities”

30-seconds

“Do you know what the colors mean?”

30-seconds

“Don’t risk it” 

15-seconds (non-animated)

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. 

Public Outreach & Community Engagement

Public Outreach & Community Engagement

Alabama 811 participates in numerous outreach efforts targeted at various stakeholder audiences to increase awareness about the importance of underground utility damage prevention. Together, we can reach a larger audience, increase the message frequency, maximize budget efficiency, and create engaging experiences that promote safe digging practices effectively.

Help us spread the safe digging message

Joint marketing campaigns enable utility companies to leverage influence by combining resources, expertise, and audience reach to amplify the safe digging message of contacting 811 before digging.

Joint marketing campaigns

Cost Efficiency
By sharing the costs of marketing efforts with partners, utility companies can maximize their budget and achieve greater impact. Joint campaigns allow for pooling resources for activities such as advertising, event sponsorship, or creating educational materials, making it more cost-effective for all involved parties.
Expanded Reach
Partnering with Alabama 811 allows utility companies to access a broader audience that they might not reach on their own. Together, both partners can promote the safe digging message through their marketing channels, such as websites, social media, newsletters, physical signage and more.
Increased Trust
When reputable organizations collaborate on a marketing campaign, it lends credibility and trust to the message. For example, when Home Depot or a tool rental company promotes the 811 message, it adds weight to the importance of contacting 811 before digging, increasing the likelihood that individuals will take the message seriously.
Targeted Marketing
Joint marketing campaigns enable companies to tailor their message to specific demographics or geographic regions, leveraging partners' insights into their audience.

For instance, if a telecom company is installing a lot of fiber in an area, they can help customize the message for homeowners, emphasize the importance of safe digging practices, and target them near their homes.

Other ways to participate

Help us spread the word by sharing on social media, adding to newsletters, handing out promotional items, and more.

Awareness Toolkits & Resources are simple, powerful tools that help promote safe digging

We have many tools available for download. Click below to access tools designed to help promote the safe digging message. Reach out if have any questions or you need assistance.

Downloadable .png files available below

If you need Alabama 811 Logo to help promote the safe digging message, click any of the items below.

LONG Logos:

TALL Logos:

SQUARE Logos:

TAGLINES:

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS:

ALL FILES DOWNLOAD

All logos and taglines, including the source file (.eps)

Request Logo Assistance

If you need any logo assistance, formatting, or otherwise, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. If you are a stakeholder who is partnering/co-op marketing with us, we can help with the design.

Audio & Video

Below are resources for helping spread awareness and educate safe digging practices. Feel free to use these to help spread the safe digging message!

Media:

Video

“Don’t Risk it”

15-seconds

“Avoid damages to underground utilities”

30-seconds

“Do you know what the colors mean?”

30-seconds

“Don’t risk it” 

15-seconds (non-animated)

CGA Resources

The CGA has developed a series of educational videos and public service announcements (PSAs) to bring the safe digging message to life. Contained in these toolkits are videos and supporting documentation for educating farmers and ranchers, for kids with engaging accompanying activities, and general public safe digging messages. Additionally, CGA has developed PSA videos and scripts highlighting safe digging practices and the consequences of digging without calling.

If you are not a member, you will be asked to create a log in with the CGA website prior to download.

Promotional Items

You can help make an impact on underground utility damage prevention with Alabama 811’s promotional items. Here, you’ll find items to help spread awareness.

Request FREE and/or Purchase Items

Fill out the form below to request free items, and/or purchase items. We will send an invoice along with the item(s) ordered. Please allow 10 business days for shipping. 


FREE Educational Promo Items


This trifold brochure is designed to help homeowners understand the responsibility of safe digging.
Download PDF

APWA color-code cards with tolerance zone and positive response info on back.

SPANISH -APWA color-code cards with tolerance zone info on the back.

The Excavation Manual is an informative guide on what you need to know; the do’s and don’ts of excavation, explanation of the tolerance zone, what to do if damage occurs, and more.
Download PDF

Use this on markers, fleet vehicles, equipment, & more.
Download PDF

Use this on markers, fleet vehicles, equipment, & more.
Download PDF

Vehicle tag / license plate for fleet vehicles.

Use to pre-mark the proposed site of excavation before submitting a locate request.

We currently offer 50 for FREE. If you need more, let us know and we can get you pricing (at cost).


Promo Items Store (at cost)


8' x 4' Banner - Heavy Duty Vinyl Material for Outdoor & Indoor Use w/grommets

Alabama 811 Promotional ink pens

811 Keychains

811 branded Band Aids

811 branded Wrist Bands

811 branded Wrist Bands



We will email an invoice to be paid before sending the item(s) ordered for the following amount:
$0.00


If you need more than 50, please specify.
Also, if you plan on picking up items, let us know the approximate date.

Toolkit Catalog

Toolkits are provided for members to promote safe digging and the damage prevention message. Each toolkit is geared toward an event, campaign, or program and contains a variety of resources such as social media messages, press release template, infographics, and more.

Using the Best Practices

The CGA Best Practices Guide is the original, and still most popular, industry resource for ensuring the safety of those who work or live near underground facilities. The Best Practices manual includes more than 130 practices that cover all phases of the 811 process, agreed to by 16 stakeholder groups. The following toolkit is available to assist members and damage prevention stakeholders in using the Best Practices Guide and participating in the best practices process.

Educating Policymakers

Educating policymakers on the importance of protecting underground infrastructure is key to the damage prevention process and CGA has created tools and guidance for members to achieve this goal. Local stakeholders can educate state and federal policymakers about how they can strengthen damage prevention legislation to improve public safety. This toolkit is designed to help on-the-ground stakeholders communicate CGA’s consensus-based Best Practices, Data and other information.

National Safe Digging Month

Please help us spread the Safe Digging Message!

Proclaim on behalf of your organization, the month of April as Safe Digging Month and encourage excavators and homeowners throughout the country to always contact 811 before digging!

Download Here:
NSDM PROCLAMATION .PDF

Toolkit & Assets

Every year, the industry celebrates National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) in April. During the month, campaigns and activities focus on promoting safe digging to the general public and professionals nationwide. Here are some images and other tools that you may use to help.

Videos

Feel free to use or share these on your social media, website, & more.

“Don’t Risk it”

15-seconds

“Avoid damages to underground utilities”

30-seconds

“Do you know what the colors mean?”

30-seconds

“Don’t risk it” 

15-seconds (non-animated)

Joint Marketing Campaign

 Information Request 


Joint Marketing Campaign types

Top 3 mistakes people make before starting a project that requires digging

Top 3 mistakes people make before starting a project that requires digging

If you are a homeowner planting a tree, a contractor installing a fence, or a utility worker repairing underground pipes, not contacting 811 can have serious consequences.

It is important to Know what’s below.

Contacting 811 before digging is essential for safety and to avoid damaging underground utility lines. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of not calling before digging, which can result in serious injuries, property damage, and costly repairs.

Here are the top three mistakes people make before digging:

Assuming there are no utility lines in the area
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that there are no underground utility lines in the area they plan to dig. This can be a costly mistake, as there are often hidden utility lines such as gas, electric, water, and sewer lines that may not be visible on the surface. Hitting one of these lines can lead to dangerous accidents, service disruptions, and expensive repairs.
1
Not giving enough notice
Another common mistake is not giving enough notice before digging. Many people assume that they only need to contact 811 a day or two before they plan to start digging.
Be sure to provide a 2 – 10 full working day notice, not counting the day of notification, prior to the proposed start of excavation.
2
Not following/respecting the markings
After you've contacted 811, utility companies will come out and mark the location of their lines with paint or flags. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not following these markings or disregarding them entirely. It's essential to understand what each color means and to avoid digging within the marked areas. Ignoring these markings can result in damage to underground utilities and, in turn, dangerous accidents and service disruptions. Contacting 811 before digging is critical to decrease the chances of damaging underground utilities and ensuring public safety.
3

Remember to assume that there are utility lines in the area, give enough notice, and follow the markings.

The dangers of digging without contacting 811

The Dangers of Digging
Without Contacting 811

Whether you’re a homeowner planting a tree, a contractor installing a fence, or a utility worker repairing underground pipes, failing to contact 811 can result in serious consequences.

Digging without contacting 811
can be a dangerous and costly mistake.

811 is the national phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for digging-related inquiries. When you contact 811, you’ll be connected to the 811 center providing service for that area.  If you are calling from a region outside the area where the work is being performed, you may have to be redirected to the proper state program.  The 811 center will obtain the necessary information on your proposed excavation project, to be used to determine the relevant underground facility owners to notify of your intent to dig. These companies will then send technicians to mark the approximate location of their buried facilities, allowing you to dig safely and avoid costly damages.

Real-Life Stories and Examples

Explosion in Murrieta, California
In 2019, a contractor in Murrieta, California was digging a trench for a new natural gas line when he hit a 3/4-inch gas line. The resulting explosion destroyed a home and injured 15 people, including three firefighters. The contractor had failed to contact 811 before digging, and had not obtained the necessary permits and approvals.
Explosion in Lee County, Illinois
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says workers operating a tiling plow ruptured the pipeline, causing an explosion. At the time of the explosion, the workers were installing drainage tile.

The investigation determined that the land owner did not contact the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (811) before beginning the tiling project.
Lawsuits filed for failure to contact 811 when damages occur
The main cause of underground utilities being damaged by someone digging is not notifying the 811 call center to have utilities located. Awareness of 811 is high among professionals, yet 60% of damages reported in 2021 were caused by contractors, demonstrating that many are aware of the 811 process but still fail to contact 811 before they dig.

It is important to contact 811 before you dig because it provides you with protection from damage claims, injuries, and lawsuits - not to mention downtime - that can result from digging, boring, or blasting without being aware of underground facilities. It can also save Alabama residents the inconvenience of damaged facilities resulting in the loss of utility services. And in some cases, contacting 811 before you dig can even save lives!

DIRT – Root Cause Analysis

 

Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA) Damage Information Reporting Tool, (DIRT), collects root cause information and has 25 individual “known” root causes to choose from as well as the option to choose “root cause not listed” or “unknown/other.” The CGA’s Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee sorts related individual root causes into groups to provide a higher-level snapshot of what went wrong in the damage prevention process. No locate request stands alone as its own root cause group and has consistently been the single leading root cause each year.  

Without a request to 811, the rest of the damage prevention process cannot be engaged and effective.

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the dangers of digging without contacting 811. In addition to the risk of injury and property damage, you could face legal and financial consequences if you cause damage to buried utilities. Always contact 811 before digging, and follow the instructions provided by the underground facility owners. By doing so, you’ll ensure a safe and successful digging project.

 

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.