PUBLIC OFFICIALS

Preventing damages to underground utilities is an important cause for public and elected officials to champion. With your support, we can help keep our communities safe.

By law, everyone — must contact the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (O.U.P.S.) at least 48 hours but no more than 10 working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before starting any digging or excavation work. When talking with your constituents and fellow officials, we urge you to share this important information with them. Remind them that they can contact O.U.P.S. 24 hours a day, including holidays, at 81-1 or 1-800-362-2764. Even if the project is small, it's still best to call.

Here are a few additional ways to get involved and spread the word:

  • Lobby for a "Safety Digging Awareness Day/Week" in your city, township or district. This will emphasize the importance of calling before you dig among all audiences, especially homeowners, contractors and excavators.
  • Enforce "Call Before You Dig" laws and ask community members to always call O.U.P.S. before beginning any digging project.
  • If you are a member of a zoning commission, make sure all individuals applying for building permits are familiar with safe digging practices. This is important even when granting minor permits, such as those for home additions and decks. Utility lines have been hit digging, such things as, fence post holes, anchoring supports for decks and swing sets, planting trees, removing tree roots and driving landscaping stakes into the ground. Those who do not call risk costly property or environmental damage, explosion or fire, power or utilities services interruptions, job delays, legal problems and personal injury—or death.
  • Ask real estate agents to inform all buyers of any lines that run through property they wish to purchase (some states already require agents to make this disclosure).

To learn more about how you can support O.U.P.S. initiatives, call the Public Education & Outreach Team at 1-800-311-3692.

Copyright 2014 Ohio Utilities Protection Service