Between 2000 and 2009, excavation damage was the leading cause of all significant pipeline incidents. These damages resulted in 38 fatalities, 158 injuries, and $196 million in property damage. While excavation damage is no longer the leading cause of significant pipeline incidents, it is still a major cause, and is still the second leading cause of serious accidents (those that cause death or injury requiring hospitalization).
The primary tool for avoiding damages to underground facilities is timely communication between those digging and the owners of the facilities. It is important to call 811 before you dig! A One-Call center facilitates this communication process by enabling an excavator to place just one call, prior to digging, to request that all underground facilities in the area of a planned excavation be located and marked-all at no cost to you.
Texas law mandates that a person call a notification center “not earlier than the 14th day before the date the excavation is to begin or later than the 48th hour before the time the excavation is to begin, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.” A person violating this law is subject to a fine that ranges from $500 to $1,000, or may be subject to a warning and required to attend a safety training course.
Hitting underground utilities when you are digging can cause injuries, even deaths, environmental damage, and loss of critical infrastructure and services. Strikes that do not cause immediate problems can lead to failures years later. If you do not make the call, you could be liable for damage costs and repairs. You could also be subject to potential penalties. Don’t take the chance-Call 811 before you dig.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.