Pre-Excavation Checklist

Before EVERY Excavation


☐ Review all drawings, plans, engineering blueprints for existing buried facilities

☐ Proposed excavation area has been marked in white paint and/or flags

☐ Call 811 at least 2-3 business days before excavation (check your state One Call laws)

☐ Locate ticket number is posted at the work location

☐ Onsite meeting scheduled with all high profile facilities in locate area (gas/oil pipelines, high-voltage cables, fiber optic)


Complete a pre-excavation walkthrough of the entire jobsite and adjacent areas

Visual Inspection of Jobsite:

Permanent markers:

☐ Signs or marking posts – Pavement markers (stamped nails, pavement decals, A-tags™) – Surface markers

☐ Other surface signage for landscaped areas

☐ Locate marks

☐ Consult any maps or field sketches of the location

☐ Identify all services to buildings such as:

  • Gas meters
  • Farm taps
  • Pipeline valves
  • Cable pedestals
  • Electric cables
  • Water valves
  • Telephone closures

Look for evidence of trench lines from previous excavation

Look for cleared pipeline ROWs

Talk with the property owner or general contractor to identify potential private facilities that may not be marked:

  • Lighting
  • Outbuildings
  • Pools/Spas
  • Irrigation
  • Sewer laterals
  • Propane tanks
  • Communications lines

Document of Jobsite:

☐ Compare actual jobsite to One Call ticket

  • One Call ticket covers the scope of the work
  • One Call ticket “Work to Begin” date is valid
  • All utilities have responded
  • All facilities are marked within the excavation area

☐ Photograph the jobsite

  • Locate marks and flags from 360° at varying distances for perspective
  • Permanent signage and location relative to the dig area:

• Note location, height, and operator of overhead lines

• Note all required safety signage

☐ Video and/or sketches where pertinent


☐ Review safety information with anyone working the job

☐ Confirm with facility owner vacuum or hydro excavation is scheduled for all pipelines impacted

☐ Locations for hand digging within the tolerance zone are noted

☐ Representatives for all critical facilities are present

☐ Emergency equipment available when hazardous atmospheres are potentially present

☐ List of all emergency contact numbers for assets in and adjacent to the dig zone is readily available

☐ The location and route to the nearest hospital is known by onsite supervisors

This document is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. It is intended to be used as a guide in the development of a checklist specific to your situation and may not be inclusive of all pre-excavation activities required of your situation. Consult your company’s appropriate management before implementation. Excavation Safety Guide, its employees and agents accept no liability and disclaim all responsibility for the consequences of acting, or refraining from acting, in reliance of the information contained in this document or for any decision based on it, or for any consequential, special, incidental or punitive damage to any person or entity for any matter relating to the contents of this document.


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