April is Safe Digging Month

Apr 10, 2015

As the ground warms up after a very cold winter – April marks the unofficial start of “digging season” in northern states. For gardeners itching to get back outside, it’s a welcome beginning to planting season.  But for those needing to dig a little deeper – it can be the beginning of an expensive and sometimes dangerous undertaking if the proper precautions aren't taken.  

In Pennsylvania – PA One Call asks that anyone planning a dig dials 8-1-1 to report the location. PA One Call then notifies all potentially affected utility companies of the intended dig.  Professional locators are sent to the site, so they can mark approximate locations of underground utility lines. Locators may use flags, paint or a combination of the two to designate the areas your dig must avoid. 

Similar efforts are in place around the country. According to PA One Call representative Dan Lucarelli, “We support the Common Ground Alliance “National Safe Digging Month” initiative, in which hundreds of stakeholders promote April as National Safe Digging Month all across the United States.”

Range is both a user, and a recipient, of PA One Call notification services. According to Range;s Safety and Security Operations Tech III Chris McAneny, “Range Resources is a great advocate for the PA One Call System.  It is a system put in place to protect people that are digging from accidentally hitting buried utilities as well as trying to prevent interruptions in service for customers of those utilities. Range is involved in the PA One Call System on both ends; we direct our contract companies to perform digging operations and we’re also a Facility Owner who must clear One Call tickets prior to digging. We view PA One Call as an outstanding tool to help us protect our employees and contractors, the public, and the buried utilities that are so important to our operations.”

Our excavating contractors are required to call 8-1-1 before they break ground.  On the flip side – Range receives notifications from PA One Call as well, so that we can send contracted locators to any site where a Range-owned pipeline needs to be earmarked above ground. 

Recently – Range took safe digging a step further – as team members from our Safety and Security, Production and Facilities Construction came up with a new, comprehensive excavation plan that further improves on past efforts. The plan covers best management practices for facilities construction and for digging after facilities have been built out. 

For Range, health and safety – for our employees, contractors and the communities where we work, is of paramount importance. Operating safely is top priority -- is woven into our business. With nearly 8,000 employees and contractors, the success of our health and safety efforts is evidenced not only by our industry-leading safety record, but also by our commitment to compliance, contractor management, employee training and technology deployment. Best practices for safety procedures are used by Range to help maintain an efficient, safe working environment. Dedicated health, safety and environmental employees support our efforts in each divisional office, conducting frequent site inspections and engaging employees in safety and preparedness programs.

We are proud of our top safety record for 2014 continuing into 2015, along with the continued efforts of every employee who shows care and concern for themselves and others by maintaining a safe workplace at Range. 

And for those of you doing some digging at home, Dan Lucarelli offers this reminder, “PA Act 287, as amended, does not specify a depth. It does say that if you are excavating with powered equipment, such as a backhoe, a powered auger, a trackhoe, or anything else with an engine, you are obligated to dial 8-1-1 three business days in advance of excavation.  You do not need to call if you are using non-powered equipment – like a hand shovel or other hand tools.”  But Dan recommends you do make the call for larger projects.  “I’d overlook the pansies in the troweled out hole and focus on bigger projects – a tree, a fence, a mailbox post, a new driveway.  Our soap box position has been:  although you are not required to call when using hand tools, we encourage you to do so.  This is the safest thing to do. This is especially true in the right of way in front of a home with something like a mailbox post.”

Read more about PA One Call here:

PA One Call

Read More About Range's best management practices fact sheets below.  

Best Management Practices: Drilling
Best Management Practices: Completions
Best Management Practices: Production