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Call Before You Dig: Avoid OSP Damage During Summer Construction

As the summer construction season kicks into high gear, it brings with it a flurry of activities ranging from residential landscaping projects to large-scale infrastructure developments. While these projects contribute to the growth and improvement of our communities, they also pose potential risks to critical infrastructure, particularly outside plant (OSP) networks. To prevent OSP damage and ensure the safety of construction workers and the general public, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of the “Call Before You Dig” initiative.

Understanding OSP Networks

Outside plant (OSP) networks encompass a vast array of infrastructure that exists outside buildings, including telecommunications cables, fiber optics, power lines, gas pipelines, and water mains. These networks are vital for the functioning of essential services, communication systems, and utilities. Damaging OSP infrastructure during construction can lead to service outages, safety hazards, and costly repairs.

The “Call Before You Dig” Initiative

The “Call Before You Dig” initiative, also known as the 811 program in the United States, is a crucial step in preventing damage to underground utilities, including OSP networks. The process involves contacting the local One-Call Center before starting any excavation or construction project. By doing so, professionals can identify and mark the location of buried utilities, enabling safe excavation and minimizing the risk of accidental damage.

Importance Of OSP Protection

OSP damage during construction can have severe consequences. Fiber optic cables, for instance, are sensitive and easily disrupted. Damage to these cables can lead to communication blackouts, affecting businesses, emergency services, and the general public. Additionally, disruptions to power lines, gas pipelines, or water mains can pose significant safety hazards, potentially resulting in injury or property damage.

Legal & Financial Consequences

Beyond the immediate safety concerns, failing to adhere to the “Call Before You Dig” protocol can lead to legal and financial repercussions. Many jurisdictions have strict laws in place to protect critical infrastructure, and individuals or companies responsible for damages may be held liable for repair costs, fines, and legal actions.

Summer Construction Challenges

The summer construction season presents unique challenges that increase the risk of OSP damage. Dry weather conditions can make the ground harder, making it more difficult to excavate safely. Increased construction activity and the use of heavy machinery also heighten the chances of accidental damage to buried utilities. Therefore, it becomes even more crucial for construction professionals to prioritize safety measures and follow proper procedures.

Best Practices For Summer Construction

1. Contact The One-Call Center:

Before starting any construction or excavation project, contact the local One-Call Center by dialing 811. Provide details about the project location, and professionals will mark the positions of buried utilities.

2. Wait For Markings:

After making the call, wait for utility representatives to mark the location of underground infrastructure. These markings are crucial guides for safe excavation.

3. Exercise Caution:

 During excavation, exercise caution around marked areas. Use appropriate tools and equipment to prevent accidental damage to buried utilities.

4. Educate Construction Teams:

Ensure that all members of the construction team are aware of the “Call Before You Dig” protocol and the importance of preventing OSP damage.

As the summer construction season begins, the “Call Before You Dig” initiative plays a pivotal role in safeguarding critical infrastructure and preventing costly and potentially dangerous damages. By adhering to best practices and promoting awareness, we can ensure that summer projects are realized without compromising the integrity of essential services.

Learn More

To find out about how Phoenix Loss Control can help when outside plant infrastructure damages occur, please click here.

For additional tips and information on the “Call Before You Dig” initiative, check out the 811 official website.

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