If You Contact a Utility Dig Safely Home< Back


There’s no such thing as minor damage to utilities.
What looks like a small nick in a buried utility line can result in a major health or fire hazard to the surrounding neighborhood. And damaged phone lines or fiber optic cables can disrupt 911 emergency service.

Never bury a damaged utility.
Trying to cover up an accident can be dangerous, and can lead to costly damages or criminal charges against you and your company. Take the following steps instead.

In case of electrical contact:

  • If you can do so safely, move the equipment away from the line.
  • Stay on the equipment until utility workers say it is safe to get off.
  • Warn others away. Anyone who touches the equipment or even the ground nearby may be injured or killed.
  • Have someone call 911 and the local electric utility immediately.

If fire or other danger forces you off, do NOT touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Jump clear and land with your feet together. Shuffle away with small steps, keeping both feet close together and on the ground at all times. Do not return to the equipment until utility personnel tell you it is safe.


In the event of any type of utility contact, take appropriate safety steps and notify your supervisor and the utility immediately.