This is the month that many of us get out in the yard, removing old things and adding new things and generally getting our hands dirty.
But it's important to remember that any plans to get into the dirt should include a check for underground utilities.
That's why April has been proclaimed "Safe Digging Month" in Louisiana by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
It's part of a nationwide safety awareness campaign to draw attention to the thousands of miles of buried infrastructure throughout our state and the importance of safe excavation.
It is extremely important that everyone dial 811 before they dig so that operators of underground utilities and pipelines can mark the location of buried lines to make them easier to avoid, officials say. Louisiana 811 answers these calls and notifies member operators of nearby underground facilities free of charge. Louisiana 811 provides the same service via the Internet at www.laonecall.com
The issue is so important that state law requires all excavators and demolishers to notify Louisiana 811 before they begin work. The law applies to individuals as well as contractors, municipalities and others. Failure to call can subject the excavator to fines and liability for damages to buried infrastructure.
Once again, this year, Louisiana 811 and media outlets throughout the state are cooperating to publish and broadcast public service announcements this spring asking everyone to "Call 811 Before You Dig."
Whether you're digging a garden, putting up a fence or building a highway, the first step is a call to 811 so that professional locators can mark the location of buried lines. It is easy, free, and it helps prevent service interruptions and personal injuries.
Here are some tips:
• Call two full workdays before you begin.
• Wait for the site to be marked.
• Respect the marks.
• Always dig with care, especially near the marks.