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Safety Meeting Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a handful of questions asked at our 2021 virtual safety meetings. If you have additional questions, please let us know!


Q: How deep are electric cables buried near the big green boxes?


A: The ONLY way to determine the depth of an underground line is to hand dig to expose the line. Each utility company has different procedures regarding how deep their underground lines should be installed. But these procedures are no guarantee that the lines were installed at that depth. And no procedures can account for changes to the ground cover, such as erosion or landscaping, that may occur after the utility line installation.



Q: What do we do about utility's continuously not getting marked?


A: Unfortunately, we do hear reports of locate requests not being marked. Although Diggers Hotline is not responsible for locators or the locating process, we have developed some some tools to help when locate requests are not getting marked.

  • No Show Relocate: Diggers Hotline has created a new ticket type for just this situation. No-Show Relocates can be used when a utility locator fails to mark their lines at an excavation site. Let Diggers Hotline know which utility or utilities did not show up at your jobsite. We will send them the No-Show relocate. They should contact you within an hour to let you know when they will respond to the locate request.
  • Positive Response: Excavators can see the status of locate requests with this voluntary program. More information ishereand here
  • Contacting members/locators: A Diggers Hotline locate request has phone number contact information for the utilities listed on the ticket. Contacting the locator directly is another way to get your questions answered.


Q: Who is responsible for private line locator?


A: This is a topic not addressed by state law. The property owner/private line owner and the excavator ideally would share responsibility when it comes to protecting private lines. If part of that process includes hiring a private line locator, a list of locators can be found here.



Q: When digging it says stay 18 inches and half the utility. where do you find out how big the utility is?


A: If a utility line is wide enough for the half of the width to come into play, it will be indicated as part of the field markings. However, if you are unsure and would like additional information, you may check with your local utility.



Q: How do we go about getting training for online requests?


A: Anyone interested in learning how to file online locate requests through our ProPortal progam may start by watching the instructional video here.



Q: How do you report if the law is not being followed for locates?


A: There is an enforcement mechanism in place for violators of state law concerning natural gas and other hazardous materials. More information is available here.



Q: Is there any thought of making the positive response mandatory?


A: Positive response would work even better if every utility member was participating. However, the only way to require that would be through a change to state law, which is not planned at this time.



Q: What is the depth of hand digging, that merits a Diggers Hotline contact by customers?


A: The state law is pretty clear: any time soil is displaced, Diggers Hotline needs to be contacted. Depth is not the determining factor, only if soil is displaced. So every time you dig, you need to contact Diggers Hotline.


Additionally, the state law is pretty clear that every excavator needs to have a locate request. Having a customer who is not digging file a locate request does not satisfy the law’s requirement.


As a reminder, every excavator, no matter how deep they are digging, needs to have their own locate request.



Q: If just removing sidewalk do you need to call in a ticket?


A: It does not matter how deep you are digging; if the soil is displaced or moved, a locate request to Diggers Hotline is required.



Q: I work as a conservationist with county government. My job is to design projects and do construction checks. Is it my responsibility or the contractors to call 811?


A: The responsibility to file a locate request falls upon the excavator, not the person who hires the excavator. This applies to a vendor working for a customer, an excavator working for a homeowner or a subcontractor working for a general contractor. Every excavator needs to file their own locate request.



Q: if the City or Village hires a contractor to do stump grinding and doesn't call in a locate who is responsible?


A: Although sometimes it may seem easier to call in a locate request for a contractor you hire, the state law is pretty clear on this issue. Every excavator needs to have their own locate request.



Q: For the development site for more than 5 acres, do we need to separate into several Diggers Hotline tickets, or we just need one ticket for the case of soil boring?


A: If the five acres is all one lot, one ticket is all that is needed. If the five acres is divided into multiple lots, each lot will need its own ticket. But with one ticket or multiple tickets, make sure to white line your project if it is on a five-acre site, or find another way to communicate with the locator. Narrowing down a site that large to just the areas you need located will help everyone.



Q: Does the law apply to planning locates?


A: Planning locate requests are indeed part of state law. The state law is available to read online.



Q: What if a utility is not listed on the ticket, but you know they utility exists in the work area. I have seen this in smaller villages and they do not mark it.


A: If you know that a utility is mistakenly not listed on a locate request, you can notify Diggers Hotline, and we can add that utility to the ticket. Additionally, you can contact the utility and let them know directly. To be safe, contacting both Diggers Hotline and the utility would help ensure the problem is resolved in the future.