No changes in digging rules for contractors in 2012

By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer

Contractors and digging crews don’t need to worry about freshening up their knowledge about the Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act next year. There won’t be any changes made.
The JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) Board of Directors had asked for feedback on proposed draft amendments to the act up until early October, including the addition of one extra day of notification prior to digging. But the proposal was met with so much negative feedback, the organization decided to not make any changes for the 2012 calendar year.
“We decided to forego any activity for next year in regards to changing the rules,” said Mark Frost, executive director of JULIE. Founded in 1974, JULIE, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that provides homeowners and professional excavators with one place to call for safe digging.
Frost said the changes proposed to contractors and diggers were met with a negative response.
“What we do when we have changes in mind is, we send out what we’re considering to contractors and diggers, and if the responses we get back are negative, we change our plans. This year, the feedback we received was mostly negative, so we decided on no new amendments to the legislation for 2012.”
Currently, contractors or homeowners wishing to dig need to call JULIE by dialing 811 not less than 48 hours but no more than 14 calendar days in advance of the start of the excavation or demolition to the owners or operators of the underground utility facilities or CATS facilities in and near the excavation or demolition area.
The service is designed to prevent costly and dangerous accidents caused by digging into electrical and other cables. JULIE points out that the impact of unsafe or careless digging practices is real and often costly, such as, personal injury to you or your construction crews, damage to underground lines, damage to property, service outages to your community, and costly repairs to underground facilities.
JULIE offers these four tips for safe digging: 1. Call before you dig. 2. Wait the required amount of time. 3. Respect the marks. 4. Dig with care.
For further information, or to schedule a visit from JULIE electronically, visit www.illinois1call.com

Pat Barcas’ e-mail address is pat@foxvalleylabornews.com.

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