Excavator Responsibilities


6 Steps to Safe Digging

Safe digging is everyone's responsibility, but excavators have more responsibilities under the law and higher risk if the proper processes aren’t followed. Submitting a ticket is the first step but it’s not the only step, and sometimes it takes more than just the one call.

When you’re getting ready to dig, make sure you follow ALL 6 steps!

Have a question or need some training? Contact one of our Safety Education Liaisons.


STEP 1: Plan Your Project

Before contacting 811, gather all of the Information Requested on a Locate Ticket. White lining your proposed dig site with white paint, flags or stakes is always recommended, and can be required when a member utility cannot understand the locate description

STEP 2: Submit a Ticket

Submit an online ticket using Exactix or call 8-1-1. A ticket is valid for 30 calendar days.

STEP 3: Wait for Marks

The required wait time is up to 2 full business days (up to 10 full business days when digging underwater) for members to clear or mark the dig site. The wait time does not include weekends and holidays. Please note: Member companies send their locators to mark underground lines, pipes and cables within the required time. Sunshine 811 does NOT mark underground utilities.

STEP 4: Check Responses

Follow each member operator’s progress throughout the required time frame by confirming their ticket responses in Exactix. This also gives you time to respond to any instructions before the required wait time expires.

Once you’ve received responses from all members, you’re ready to head to the job site. Before you start digging compare the ticket response codes to the marks you see at the dig site. If they don’t match, contact the utility for clarification.

STEP 5: Protect Marks

Protect the locate marks for the life of the ticket. If any marks are destroyed or not reasonably visible, stop digging. Then contact Sunshine 811 to request a new ticket. Reference the old ticket number so information can be easily accessed.

STEP 6: Dig With Care

Once it’s safe to dig, remember the marks are approximate and you must dig carefully near them. The underground facility’s tolerance zone is 24 inches from the outer edges of a buried facility. Protect the locate marks throughout the project and request another ticket if the marks become faded or destroyed.