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Safe Digging

The Michigan Public Service Commission is designated as the enforcing agency under Michigan Public Act 174 (PA 174), or the MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act.

PA 174 requires that:

  • Facility owners and operators must operate and be members of MISS DIG Systems, Inc (MISS DIG), the non-profit organization that undertakes responsibilities as Michigan's one-call notification system.
  • An excavator must provide notice of excavation or blasting activities at least 3 business days in advance.  Notifications can be made by calling 811 or via the MISS DIG website.
  • MISS DIG must receive dig notifications and transmit the dig ticket information to facility owners and operators in the area of the proposed excavation or blasting activities. Additionally, MISS DIG administers a positive response system that allows excavators to verify that all facility owners and operators have responded appropriately to the locate request.
  • Facility owners and operators must respond to dig tickets by marking the location of facilities in the area of the proposed excavation or blasting activities.
  • Excavators must employ certain safe-digging practices when excavating or blasting near underground facilities such as:
    • exposure of marked facilities using soft excavation in the caution zone;
    • providing support or bracing of facilities as necessary;
    • providing additional notice to MISS DIG as necessary in the event of destroyed markings;
    • marked facilities cannot be located, or;
    • unmarked facilities are detected.
  • An excavator that contacts or damages an underground facility must provide immediate notice to the facility owner or operator. Additionally, an excavator must call 911 if the damage results in the release of flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid or endangerment of life, health, or property, and take reasonable safety measures until the facility owner or operator or emergency responders have arrived.
  • The MPSC must receive and process complaints related to violations of PA 174. The MPSC obtains authority to assess civil penalties for violations and require training to ensure future compliance. 

PA 174 also requires the MPSC to maintain information on excavation damages to underground facilities and to make that information publicly available on its website.  With excavation damage, there are typically two parties involved - the owner of the facility and the excavator who caused the damage.  The MPSC requires information related to incidents of excavation damage to be submitted by the facility owner or operator on a quarterly basis.  However, excavators and other parties may voluntarily elect to submit data for excavation damages but are not required to do so.