Who Is An Excavator

An excavator is any person proposing or engaging in digging or demolition work. This includes property owners, tenants, farmers, and professional contractors. Excavators are responsible for ensuring that pipelines and other underground facilities are not damaged when digging.

Excavation damage is a leading cause of significant pipeline accidents, resulting in property damage, injuries, and fatalities. Severe excavation damage results in an immediate release, while less severe damage can weaken a pipe and contribute to a future pipeline failure.

Whether excavating with a shovel or a four-ton backhoe - damage prevention must be a top priority. Anyone who excavates or digs must contact their state's One-Call system so that underground facilities can be located before excavation begins.

Indiana has damage prevention laws that involve fines and penalties for not following the states One-Call laws.  Learn more about what excavators can do to promote pipeline safety by understanding the information on this website and visiting Indiana 811.

Excavator Best Practices

The leading cause of gas distribution system incidents is caused by a third party. Office of Pipeline Safety invests considerable resources in the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to promote damage prevention. CGA members include all underground facility damage prevention stakeholders and CGA has assumed stewardship of these OPS initiatives:

  • Best Practices - In 1999, the OPS sponsored the Common Ground Alliance to develop "Best Practices" for preventing damage to pipelines and other underground facilities.
  • A CGA committee ensures the Best Practices are updated to reflect new technology and practices.
  • Dig Safely - This educational campaign stresses damage prevention by encouraging excavators to participate in one-call programs. A CGA committee continues to develop educational materials for use in communities, work sites, and public forums.