April 2021: Safe Digging Month

WHEREAS, April is traditionally when spring weather encourages Michigan residents, excavators, and farmers to begin many small and large digging projects; and,

WHEREAS, each year, these projects result in thousands of unintentional damages to underground utilities and pipelines by those who fail to contact MISS DIG 811 to have underground utilities located; and,

WHEREAS, failure to contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 811 or visiting the organization's website at MISSDIG811.org before digging is the number one reason why Michigan residents cause unintended damages to underground utilities; and,

WHEREAS, damages to underground utilities can cause service interruption, damage to the environment, and most serious of all, personal injury and even death; and,

WHEREAS, construction to improve the safety and reliability of state infrastructure creates more excavating projects and increases the importance of contacting MISS DIG 811 and following safe digging procedures vital to safe completion; and,

WHEREAS, MISS DIG 811 Inc. and Dig Safely coalition partners Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, SEMCO Energy, TransCanada Pipeline, along with the Michigan Public Service Commission, Operating Engineers 324, The Trade Unions, and Michigan legislators, continue to work diligently all year to promote 811 and the MISSDIG811.org website to help raise awareness of and reduce underground utility damages; and,

WHEREAS, through education about safe digging practices, excavators and homeowners can save time, money, and keep our state safe and connected by calling 811 three business days in advance of any digging project; waiting three business days for utility marks to be made; respecting marked lines by visually siting the line throughout the course of excavation; and hand digging to verify location of marked lines before using power equipment with care within four feet of marks to protect underground utilities; and,

WHEREAS, with the ongoing partnership with these and other utilities, call centers, the national Common Ground Alliance organization, and state and local governments, all parties agree that safety is a shared responsibility;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as Safe Digging Month in Michigan.