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PSE’s Random Inspections

Washington State –¬†Puget Sound Energy has increased its field presence to ensure that contractors are digging safely and following the required state regulations. As of the beginning of the month, field agents will be making unannounced visits to construction sites. Their goals are to monitor locate quality, improve accuracy, offer onsite safety briefings, and evaluate overall compliance. If contractors are found to have been digging without valid locates, the Puget Sound Energy¬†representative will request an immediate stop to all work until the proper locates are conducted, or face charges in front of the Dig Law Safety Committee.

Below are guidelines to prevent digging related incidences and emergencies:

Call 811 before you dig

  • Outline your dig site in white paint before calling for locates.
  • Call at least two business days before digging. The day you call does not count as a business day. Reminder: this is a free service.
  • Subcontractors cannot dig on a ticket called in by the general. They will have to call in for their own work.
  • For projects exceeding 700 linear feet, excavators must confer with all utilities before starting each phase of the work.

Excavate carefully

  • Respect the flags, paint or other markers.
  • If you are not sure a locator has been there, wait or call the utility to verify.
  • When digging within 24-inches of the marks, always use hand tools as soon as you have broken hard surface. Expose utilities, if necessary.
  • Slow down! If something does not feel or look right, stop. Never be afraid to ask for clarification.¬†

Know the signs of a natural gas leak

  • An unusual odor similar to sulfur or rotten eggs.
  • Dead vegetation where you wouldn’t expect it.
  • Bubbles rising continually in a puddle.
  • Dirt spraying in the air.
  • Hissing or roaring sounds.

Know how to respond to an emergency

  • Immediately leave the area. Abandon all equipment and get a safe distance away.
  • Avoid any action that may cause sparks.
  • Call 911, then immediately notify Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-CALL PSE
  • Keep others away until emergency officials arrive.
  • Stay upwind. Do not attempt to operate pipeline valves or extinguish any pipeline fires.
  • Do not attempt to squeeze-off or plug a leaking or blowing gas line,
  • Do not cover up a damaged line. Report it to Puget Sound Energy immediately.

For more information on safe digging practices, do not hesitate to call The Integrated Group at 425-822-8500 or email us at

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