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Safe Summer Construction: Prevent OSP Damage

As we enter the peak of the summer construction season, a flurry of activities ranging from residential landscaping projects to large-scale infrastructure developments is underway. While these projects contribute significantly to the growth and improvement of our communities, they also bring potential risks to crucial infrastructure, particularly outside plant (OSP) networks. Emphasizing the importance of the “Call Before You Dig” initiative becomes crucial to prevent OSP damage and ensure the safety of construction workers and the general public.

Understanding OSP Networks

Outside plant (OSP) networks encompass a diverse range of infrastructure located outside buildings, such as telecommunications cables, fiber optics, power lines, gas pipelines, and water mains. These networks play a vital role in essential services, communication systems, and utilities. Damaging OSP infrastructure during construction can result in service outages, safety hazards, and expensive 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 reaching out to the local One-Call Center before commencing any excavation or construction project. This allows professionals to identify and mark the location of buried utilities, ensuring safe excavation and minimizing the risk of accidental damage.

Importance Of OSP Protection

Construction-related damage to OSP networks can have severe consequences. For example, fiber optic cables are sensitive and easily disrupted, leading to communication blackouts that can impact businesses, emergency services, and the general public. 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 immediate safety concerns, neglecting the “Call Before You Dig” protocol can result in legal and financial repercussions. Many jurisdictions have strict laws in place to protect critical infrastructure, and those responsible for damages may face liability for repair costs, fines, and legal actions.

Summer Construction Challenges

The summer construction season presents unique challenges that heighten the risk of OSP damage. Dry weather conditions can make the ground harder, complicating safe excavation. Increased construction activity and the use of heavy machinery further elevate the chances of accidental damage to buried utilities. Therefore, prioritizing safety measures and following proper procedures becomes even more crucial for construction professionals.

Best Practices For Summer Construction

  1. Contact The One-Call Center:

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

  1. Wait For Markings:

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

  1. Exercise Caution:

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

  1. Educate Construction Teams:

Ensure 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 unfolds, 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, download our call before you dig checklist here or alternatively check out the 811 official website.

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