TransCanada joins industry partners in the Alberta Common Ground Alliance to promote safe digging practices in Canada each April.
Each year, TransCanada works to promote Safe Digging Month in April by working with its industry partners to provide important information on living and working near pipelines and other underground utilities . . . and this year is no exception.
As an active member and platinum sponsor of the Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA), we joined ATCO Gas, Enbridge, ENMAX, the City of Calgary, Telus and Fortis to host a safe digging demonstration at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary on April 10.
It was a crisp spring morning at the excavation site – an earthen parking lot in the northwest corner of the SAIT campus – where we donned protective glasses and hardhats to learn how utility lines are identified and clearly marked so that digging can be done safely.
“Every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone digs before calling to locate the lines,” said Brad Watson, a TransCanada safety specialist who is the current chair of the ABCGA. “It’s not one month out of the year, it is 365 days of the year that we want to prevent this from happening.”
To illustrate the need for safe digging, Calgary Fire Department public information officer Carol Henke provided a story she experienced first hand. A father and son wanted to erect a bird house the son brought home from school and thought the perfect place was at the end of their flower bed.
“He dug with his hand auger and went down about three feet. The good news is he found his gas line. The bad news is he found his gas line,” Henke explained. “Because he did not remember to click or call before he dug, he ended up needing a new flower bed, a new front lawn and that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
Safe digging is a shared responsibility amongst buried utility owners and anyone wielding a shovel – even homeowners, said Mike Sullivan president of Alberta One-Call. Alberta One-Call is a free service that arranges the location and marking of buried facilities before any digging project takes place.
“Everybody has a stake in being a damage prevention champion and that’s what we’re here to promote today. April is Safe Digging Month, we want you to do the right thing. Contact Alberta One-Call, call or click before you dig. It’s the most important choice you can make,” Sullivan said.
The event ended with a backhoe excavating an area only after all buried utilities had been marked and flagged by trained utility locators and the excavation area had been outlined in white paint.
TransCanada will continue to promote public awareness about Safe Digging Month in the coming days and we look forward to kicking off the construction and gardening season right: by clicking or calling before we dig.
Read our You make the call, to dig safely blog post.