New Hampshire Dig Safe gets perfect score in evaluation
First comprehensive federal review of PUC-run program
The state of New Hampshire’s Dig Safe program has been given a perfect score in the program’s first comprehensive federal evaluation.
The program, administered by the NH Public Utilities Commission, was reviewed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA.
“Excavation damage poses a serious safety risk to excavators, to the public living or working in the area, and to the environment,” said PUC Chair Martin Honigberg. In the evaluation, the programs must demonstrate they adequately meet seven criteria used by PHMSA:
• Whether the state has enforcement authority including civil penalties
• Whether there is an enforcement body
• Whether the state is using its authority and making enforcement records available to the public
• Whether the state has a reliable means of learning about damages
• Whether the state has damage investigation practices that are adequate to determine the at-fault party when damage occurs;
• Whether the state, at a minimum, requires excavators to call 811 before digging, respect all marked underground facilities, report any damage as soon as is practical, and call 911 if a release of gas occurs
• Whether exemptions from the damage prevention program are limited and that written justification is provided for any exemption.