Call 811 before you dig

Safety is a Shared Responsibility

You play a critical role in natural gas and electric safety. Learn ways you can safely plan your digging project with the valuable resources below. One easy, FREE call to 811 gets underground utility lines marked so you can dig safely. Whether you're planting a garden, building a fence or remodeling your home no project is too small to call.

Your safety is our top priority. As the owner and operator of one of the largest natural gas systems in the nation, PG&E is committed to providing safe and reliable gas service to all of our customers. Learn about our progress in your area.

Call 811 before you dig

Even if you are planting a new bush or digging a fence post in your own yard, you must always call 811 Underground Service Alert (USA) at least two working days before you dig. This is a FREE program for homeowners, excavators and professional contractors to notify local utility companies to mark the location of underground lines so you can safely dig and prevent damage.

All utilities have two business days from the date of the call to locate and mark underground lines. Call early in the week for those weekend projects to allow the local utilities time to respond.

Submit your 811 request online

You can also notify local utility companies of your intent to dig online. Visit the appropriate notification center serving the area where you will be digging.

Serving Central/Northern California and Nevada.

Serving Santa Barbara, Ventura, Inyo, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties.

Steps to a safe digging project

PG&E strongly encourages anyone planning a digging project to utilize the best practices established by the Common Ground Alliance.

  1. Mark Your Project Area in White: Identify the location where you will be digging by drawing a box around the area using white paint. Learn more about marking your digging project here.
  2. Call 811 or Go Online for a USA Ticket: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. You will receive a ticket number confirming your call and be emailed your ticket by providing an email address. This free program notifies PG&E and other utilities so we can identify whether we have underground facilities at your project area.
  3. Get Marked: You must wait two working days, including renewals and extensions. Utility companies will locate and mark their own pipelines, telephone, communications, water or other underground lines.
  4. Dig Safely: For your safety, use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of our underground lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until you have finished digging. Immediately call 911 and notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 if you dent, scrape or hit our gas or electric lines while digging so that we can inspect and repair the line. Learn the signs of a gas leak.  

Utility markings

PG&E will locate and mark the horizontal location of gas and electric facilities by painting stripes on surface streets and sidewalks or placing colored flags in landscaped areas. Each color indicates a universal color to what is buried below.

Use this American Public Works Association Color Code to learn what's in your yard or project area when you call 811 before you dig!

Creating a New Standard in Safe Digging for Our Contractors

In 2013 alone, damage to PG&E’s underground facilities occurred more than 2,000 times, resulting in unsafe conditions, financial costs and project delays for contractors. PG&E’s recent introduction of the Gold Shovel Standard–a first-of-its-kind excavation safety standard–will ensure that contractors doing excavation work for PG&E demonstrate a commitment to safe digging.

About the Gold Shovel Standard

PG&E developed the Gold Shovel Standard in accordance with California regulations that govern excavation work in the state. Among other things, contractors must demonstrate that they call 811 before any excavation work begins to have underground lines located and marked by utility owners.

In addition, contractors are required to develop and adhere to a Dig-In Prevention Policy that incorporates these critical elements:
  • An excavation policy, signed by all employees of the company that follows California’s excavation laws.
  • A training program covering the requirements of the One Call Law and Cal-OSHA's Construction Safety Orders, including proper use of hand tools and power operated excavation equipment. Training is required for new employees before conducting any excavation activity, and for existing employees on an annual basis.
  • A written Corrective Action Plan that details the processes for identifying root causes and the associated corrective measures.
  • A written policy for Excavation Safety Accountability that provides all employees a mechanism to speak up when they observe situations that are in conflict with the company’s policy requiring compliance with excavation laws.
Gold Shovel Standard

Contact for More Information

To find out more about receiving recognition for your company, please send an email to PG&E’s Damage Prevention group.

Supporting Safe Digging

The Gold Shovel Standard is just one of many ways we’re working hard to promote safe digging practices among contractors. We hold safety trainings for contractor each quarter at locations across our service territory, and also visit contractors at their place of business throughout the year to conduct. If you would like to be notified of upcoming trainings please email PG&E's Damage Prevention group. Please include your name, title, company name, phone number and email.

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