Safety · Excavators

As construction and development continue to gravitate toward more rural areas, natural gas companies urge all excavators, including construction firms, landscaping companies, homebuilders and land developers, to educate themselves on safe digging practices. Even minor contact with a pipeline, such as a small dent, chip or scratch, can cause major damage down the road if not professionally repaired.

Remember to call before you dig!
By law, all individuals planning any digging, ditching, drilling, leveling or plowing activity must contact the Ohio811 at 8-1-1, at least two working days beforehand. Representatives from the appropriate natural gas company will then come to the location and designate the pipeline’s approximate location with highly visible markers and/or paint, free of charge. For more information about ROWs and easements, click here.

Calling Ohio811 before you dig is the only way to determine the true location of a pipeline. Some people assume they can pinpoint a pipeline’s location simply by drawing a straight line between two or more ROW pipeline markers. These markers, however, do not indicate the depth of the pipeline and are not always located precisely over a line. A pipeline may curve or twist underground to avoid natural or manmade objects, such as tree roots or television cable. To learn more about Ohio811 and calling before you dig click here.

Know your natural gas safety

Use your senses of sight, hearing and smell, along with any of the following signs, to alert yourself to the presence of a gas leak:


  • The distinctive odor of natural gas


  • A damaged connection to a gas appliance
  • Dirt or water being blown into the air
  • Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas
  • A fire or explosion near a pipeline
  • Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster


  • An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling, or roaring sound near a gas line or appliance

It makes sense to trust your senses.

  • If you suspect a leak, don’t try to stop it or use anything that could create a spark—not even a cell phone. Instead, leave the area completely and call the natural gas company listed on the nearest pipeline marker. If no company is listed, call 9-1-1.
  • If you come in contact with a pipeline, and cause minor damage such as a dent, gouge, scratch or break in coatings, you are required by state law to call the appropriate utility with the type and location of the damage. Please allow the utility company time to repair the pipeline. If your contact with the pipeline results in a release of natural gas, please contact the appropriate utility and 9-1-1. Then take the appropriate steps listed above to keep yourself and surrounding property safe.

Report unauthorized activity
Natural gas companies work hard to protect their pipelines from natural hazards and third-party damage. In addition to installing highly visible pipeline markers, many companies perform aerial, ground and marine inspections of their ROWs; conduct annual leak surveys; and install sophisticated leak detection equipment. To build awareness, these companies sponsor public education programs, meet regularly with public and emergency officials and conduct excavator education sessions. For more information about these sessions, please contact your local natural gas company.

You can help by reporting any suspicious activity or unauthorized digging occurring at or near your job sites. If you suspect ANY illegal digging, call the natural gas company listed on the nearest pipeline marker right away. If no natural gas company is listed, call 9-1-1.