HARRISBURG – Legislation recently approved to extend and expand the provisions of the PA One Call law will improve public safety, according to state Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th District) who sponsored the measure.
“This bill is a substantial improvement in prevention and protection, building upon a solid and proven system,” she said. “We are extending a sound law and expanding its reach to further provide community and worker protection.”
Also known as 811, PA One Call is a communications system that helps prevent damage to underground utilities and avoid tragedies by requiring companies and people to “Call Before You Dig.” That information is then used to determine if there are any lines at-risk in the area, so they can be marked prior to excavation.
The new provisions include consolidating enforcement through the PUC, adding coverage of pipelines in Class 1 rural areas, making damage reporting mandatory, broadening mapping requirements to better locate new and existing lines, and establishing a Damage Prevention Committee to help provide oversight and promote best practices.
“By implementing some common sense safety measures, we are improving the system and acting to help prevent catastrophes,” Baker added.
It is estimated there are more than 6,000 “hits” each year, approximately half involving natural gas lines. These incidents jeopardize the public, place workers at risk, and compromise infrastructure. Preventing pipeline damage increases safety and reduces costs.
The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.