Public Awareness – Summer 2018

2018 Green Cross for Safety Advocate Award Finalists

THE NATIONAL SAFETY Council’s mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Each year they recognize those who have made a significant impact on safety by raising awareness and bringing about change through the Green Cross for Safety Award. The finalists for the 2018 award are:

Common Ground Alliance 811 Campaign

Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was established in 2000 to develop a national public awareness campaign around the importance of calling to mark underground utility lines before excavating. Together with its partners, the American Gas Association, PHMSA, thousands of stakeholders and only four staff members, the Common Ground Alliance made 850 million media impressions in 2017 alone.

Since the inception of the national Call 811 campaign in 2007, damages have gone down more than 50%, and excavation damage is no longer the leading cause of pipeline incidents involving injury and fatality.

Jane Fellman, SafeKids Kenai, Alaska

Identifying a serious safety issue in her community – snow machine and ATV safety and injuries – Jane Fellman began an ongoing community education program on helmet use. Started in 2000, her seven-station program covers readiness, safety and emergency response, in addition to helmet use. The observed helmet use rate on the Kenai Peninsula post-training was 88%, and 95% for teens. The Alaskan state average both overall and for teens is 57%.

Dr. David Strayer, University of Utah

Over the last decade, Dr. David Strayer and his team at the University of Utah have been studying driver distraction to better understand how and why people can become overloaded while multi-tasking behind the wheel. His work has identified that cell phone use, whether or not hands-free, increases the odds of being involved in a crash by four times, similar to the risk of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08. Estimates indicate distraction has been a factor in two-thirds of the 40,000 deaths on the roads in both 2016 and 2017.

Thanks to Dr. Strayer’s research, 15 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have primary enforcement laws for hand-held cell phone use, and 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.

Winners will be honored at the Green Cross for Safety Award Celebration on May 23rd in Chicago.

8/11 Day is Right around the Corner!

EACH YEAR, damage prevention stakeholders across the U.S. and Canada celebrate 8/11 Day, or 8-11 on the calendar, with creative and farreaching campaigns reminding the public and professionals about the importance of digging safely.

Whether your organization already has events and outreach planned or is still looking for ideas, read on for Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Communications Plan tools that can easily be used to spread the 811 message around 8/11 Day this year and to hear about an exciting initiative with national reach!

Download 8/11 Day Communications Plan Tools Today

Visit the 811 Toolkit page on Common to download 8/11 Day tools, including:

  • Media outreach templates and sample social media messages. The 8/11 Day section of the 811 Toolkit hosts a customizable press release, media advisory and other templates that your organization can use to remind the public about the importance of calling 811 before digging. You can also find sample social media messages and internal communications templates to help you spread the word this 8/11 Day.
  • A guide to organizing an 811 plane flyover at a local beach or another highly-populated public space. Information about how to execute an 811 plane flyover at a beach or community event can be found in the 8/11 Day section of the 811 Toolkit.
  • Send 811 cakes or cupcakes to local radio and media outlets. Delivering 811 sweets to local media outlets is a great way to remind members of the media about damage prevention at a time of year when it matters most. For cake designs and information about executing an 811 cake drop, download the tools in the 8/11 Day section of the 811 Toolkit.

Social media graphics.– Social media graphics. Both the 8/11 Day toolkit and the DIRT toolkit contain social media infographics that you can use to promote the importance of calling 811 via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email campaigns.

The 811 Hot Air Balloon Flies across the Country this Summer

IN PARTNERSHIP with Cox Utility Services, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) will bring the 811 Hot Air Balloon to locations across the country this summer to grow awareness about the importance of calling 811 before digging. CGA would like to thank its many member-partners who are hosting the 811 Balloon at several of the high-impact summer events below. You can follow the Balloon all summer by searching the hashtag #811balloon!

May 2018

• May 4-5: Gulf Coast Balloon Festival, Foley, AL

• May 11-13: Preakness Balloon Festival, West Friendship, MD

• May 17: Arkansas Damage Prevention Summit, Little Rock, AR

• May 26-27: Alabama Jubiliee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Decatur, AL

• May 28-June 3: The Memorial Golf Tournament, Columbus, OH

June 2018

• June 6: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Lexington, TN

• June 9: Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, Edwardsville, PA

• June 16-18: 39th Annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival, Quechee, VT

• June 22-24: Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, Howell, MI

• June 29-July 1: Eyes to the Skies Festival, Lisle, IL

July 2018

• July 14-15: Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, Steamboat Springs, CO

• July 28-Aug. 5: National Balloon Classic, Indianolia, IA

August 2018

• Aug. 17-19: 29th Annual Centralia Balloon Festival, Centralia, IL

• Aug. 24-26: Plainville Balloon Festival, Plainville, CT

Locator Safety Awareness Week

“Just because the water is calm does not mean the gators are gone.” ~Malayan Proverb


WHERE ARE the “gators” at? During my first safety meeting in the field, the supervisor stated this proverb and it has resonated with me ever since. It was a gentle reminder that just because no one has been hurt before, that our jobs are not inherently safe. For our less-experienced employees, he stressed the importance of being able to see the “gators” or hazards. More importantly, we all needed to know how we would safely manage those hazards. He knew that just telling people to be safe would not tell people how to be safe. When someone gets hurt, it is easy to see the gator after the fact, such as a grass-covered hole or a distracted driver. The gator was lying there waiting for someone to get too close.

People are the solution. We need our locators’ help to make these gators more visible. This was the driving theme for USIC’s Locator Safety Awareness Week (LSAW) social media campaign, held April 23-27. Every day, we had a different hazard theme and asked our teammates to send us their photos. For each theme, we posted a montage video showing some of the best photos and announced the daily $100 winner.

As an industry, we work in an environment that is never completely free of risk. If you look at the photos, you’ll see all sorts of hazards! As the jobsite conditions constantly change, the risk level ebbs and flows. Sometimes, there’s a snake in the pedestal; sometimes, there is not. It’s great to see our employees use their safety training to protect themselves from the gators even when the water is calm. Since risk exists in the eye of the perceiver, we must keep the discussion of risk alive. LSAW helps us by doing two things:

  1. INCREASING FIELD OPERATOR AWARENESS of the hazardous conditions and how they can recognize changing conditions.
  2. START A LEADERS HIP CONVERSATION ABOUT THE UNDERLYING CONDITIONS that make the system more prone to failure.
Old Utility Pole Hole - Steve Stiner, Indiana

Change the definition of safety. Safety is more than the absence of bad things happening (injuries, vehicle collisions, damages, etc.); it is about having the capacity to enable things to go right across varying conditions. The job of a locator is not a whimsical walk in the park where nothing bad could happen. It is difficult to create success in a complex environment with so many different variables. Success requires disciplined assessment of what needs to happen, where sensitivities lie, and where conditions can be improved. It involves asking better questions to get a better understanding of this complex environment, such as:

Watch Out for Wildlife - Ron Weston, Florida

• What must go right to be successful?

• What do people do to make things go right?

• What do people need to be able to deal with the varying demands of the workplace?

• Where are the challenges going to be?

• Where can we learn about how this can be done well?

Safety is not the absence of injuries; safety is our ability to keep the “gators” at bay. It is about building resilient and adaptive practices that can enable people to make it safer. To get to the next level, we need to utilize the collective wisdom, curiosity, and creativity of ALL our employees. The challenge ahead is not one of winning hearts and minds to ensure safety. Instead, the challenge is to figure out how we can enable people and organizations to unleash their own capacity to create the future they would like to see.

Nathan Bright is EHS Director for USIC. To learn more on how USIC engaged in Locator Safety Awareness Week and view additional safety hazard pictures, visit

CGA Members Celebrate National Safe Digging Month

With National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) 2018 behind us, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was thrilled to see all of the ways members promoted the “Call Before You Dig” message around the country!

Highlights of NSDM 2018 included:

  • More than 35 states secured their governors’ proclamations of April as Safe Digging Month.
  • The 811 Hot Air Balloon kept eyes on the skies in Lake Tahoe (with USA North 811), the Grand Prix of Long Beach (courtesy of Shell Pipeline Company LP ) and Louisville’s Kentucky Balloon Festival in April.
  • Members promoted the national Home D epot-811 partnership using our new toolkit. Thanks to efforts by Georgia 811, tree tags in Home Depot nurseries across the country feature an 811 logo.
  • CGA’s infographics were used widely to spread the word about safe digging on social media, in email campaigns, bill inserts and newsletters. Pennsylvania 811 even had one of the infographic placed in Times Square!

CGA members were busy reminding the public, professionals and internal audiences about the importance of always calling before digging this NSDM:

  • Avista Utilities partnered with pizza chain Papa Murphy’s to offer $8.11 pepperoni pizzas in celebration of NSDM.
  • Call Before You Dig of Connecticut obtained its governor’s proclamation of April as National Safe Digging Month.
  • NSDM social media posts are going out to Texas schools statewide via the Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation, School Pipeline Safety Partnership and the Texas School Safety Center.
  • Dig Safely N ew York, Inc. (DSNY) partnered with Buckeye Partners, L.P., local landscape businesses and garden supply centers to celebrate NSDM with the Sitting for Safety Tree and Bench Contest. The contest promoted the fact that businesses and homeowners are all part of the safe digging process. Organizations, companies, schools, community members and families entered to win and were asked why they choose to dig safely. From preserving communities, keeping families safe and pets out of harm’s way, all shared what safe digging meant to them. DSNY announced winners via its Facebook page on May 4th.
  • Energy Transfer executed a social media takeover in support of NSDM targeting the company’s more than 100,000 followers. The 811 message, including CGA infographics, was featured on all of the company’s social media channels during the month, with 39 posts on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. The company’s posts were shared or retweeted more than 225 times and liked nearly 700 times. CGA’s “Day in The Dark” video was viewed more than 750 times. Employees posted more than 70 times and reached more than 6,000 followers.
  • The Interstate National G as Association of America (ING AA) launched its NSDM campaign focused on farmers and ranchers with a press release and a blog post highlighting ways to dig safely, and delivered a series of social content throughout April.
  • JULIE , Inc. partnered with Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR Green and the Forest Preserve District of Will County to plant five native oak trees in celebration of Earth Day. The one call center’s services were utilized prior to planting the trees at the Forest Preserve’s Sugar Creek Administration Center on April 20.
  • Kansas 811 kicked off NSDM with excavator awareness meetings in Wichita on April 3rd and 5th that attracted more than 600 attendees. Governor Jeff Colyer issued a proclamation declaring the month of April as “Safe Digging Month” in Kansas following efforts by the Kansas Corporation Commission, Kansas 811 and the Kansas Pipeline Association.
  • Lone Star 811 continued its partnership with Paradigm, the Smalley Foundation and the Texas Rangers for the launch of NSDM by sponsoring the game at Globe Life Park in Arlington against the World Champion Houston Astros on March 31st, during the opening weekend of the MLB season. Guests enjoyed the game from the Lone Star 811 suite as well as a lower level section along third base where 50 fans were wearing color-coded 811 t-shirts. Nearly 40,000 fans saw 811 messaging on IPTV throughout the game and more than 2,000 fans were provided with 811 promotional items as they entered the third base gate. In addition, approximately 700,000 listeners heard 811 PSAs during every Rangers broadcast throughout NSDM.
  • In conjunction with Louisiana 811, Kid’s Energy USA created a safe digging billboard in honor of NSDM, which was placed in 20 locations in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes for the duration of April. Louisiana 811 also secured media interviews explaining the 811 safety process to the public on two Lafayette TV broadcast news stations and one Baton Rouge station.
  • Miss Utility of Delmarva contracted with an electronic billboard company to display an 811 message most of the year. For April, the organization displayed a NSDM image off of Route 1 in Frederica, Del.
  • Miss Utility of MD/DC and Miss Utility of Delmarva teamed up to sponsor the post-game show of Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals games on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network during NSDM. The post-game feature is called “Who Dug Deep,” and it highlights the clutch performance of the game.
  • National Grid created a fun, engaging video called “When It Comes to 811, There’s No Kidding Around,” featuring CGA member Bob Terjesen.
  • Nebraska 811 invited the winners of its Safe Digging poster contest to attend Governor Pete Ricketts’ proclamation of April as Safe Digging Month and take a tour of the State Capitol. The posters were displayed in the main hallway of the Nebraska State Capitol.
  • To kick off NSDM, New York 811 hosted its annual Excavation Safety Expo on March 30th in Uniondale, N.Y. Nearly 300 damage prevention professionals attended the one-night event, which was chock full of networking opportunities, educational sessions addressing ticket submission, mark outs and high-pressure gas mains, and updates about the state of New York 811. The evening wrapped with a compelling keynote speech about common safety pitfalls from David Miguel, a motivational safety presenter who also owns a safety training, consulting and equipment supply business. On April 5th, New York 811 was out and about in the Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal educating contractors on safe digging and the importance of calling before digging.
  • Pennsylvania 811 issued a NSDM press release that garnered more than 16 million impressions, secured more than 330 local government proclamations of April as “Pennsylvania 811 Safe Digging Month” and placed a CGA infographic in Times Square.
  • Southern California G as C o. (SoCalGas) and Anaheim Fire & Rescue officials raised a 30-foot-tall shovel at Angels Stadium of Anaheim to promote safe digging practices that can help prevent serious injuries and service outages. Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Jose Moreno and Angels Baseball Chairman Dennis Kuhl joined first responders at the event to help raise awareness about the importance of calling 811 prior to the start of any excavation project. The partnership lasted throughout the month of April, including radio spots on Angels Radio AM830 and in-stadium marketing, featuring digital ads and video.
  • The UGI Pipeline & Public Safety Team partnered with the UGI Sales Team and UGI Electric to promote the benefits of natural gas, electric conservation programs and calling 811 before digging at an event in Wilkes Barre, Pa., April 13th – 15th.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation posted a blog on its website featuring an original NSDM infographic, as well as placing a “Focus on Ag” article on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s website promoting the importance of calling 811 before digging.
  • Check out the national media coverage of 811 featuring data from CGA’s national NSDM news release in Total Landscape Care, a top trade publication for the landscaping industry.
  • Verizon and South Carolina 811 kicked off April with Underground Motorcycle Racing in Kershaw, S.C., at Carolina Motorsports Park. Two motorcycles proudly displayed 811 “Call Before You Dig” on the side panel and front fender. Hundreds of participants and spectators learned what 811 means and how important it is to contact their local 811 center before their next excavation project.

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