April typically marks the beginning of digging season, and of course, the start of National Safe Digging Month. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is dedicated to the safety of all diggers in the field, and encourages all workers to take proper safety precautions.

The April National Safe Digging Month is an initiative created by the Common Ground Alliance (GCA) to spread awareness and promote the safety of the digging industry. This initiative works to promote an overall focus on the safety of our land workers, and to remind diggers to take safety precautions prior to digging. GCA wants to remind diggers that it is imperative that they call 811 prior to digging underground.

The 811 phone line was created to ensure workers and diggers can perform their jobs in a safe manner and avoid all buried utility lines. The 811 is free of cost, and will send a professional out to mark where utility lines are located near the dig site.

According to GCA, there are over 100 billion feet of underground utility lines that provide electricity, gas, and water to communities across the country. Hitting one could be costly and dangerous, and even result in fines and repair costs. Every six minutes, a utility line is hit or damaged.

“Safety is a major focus for AEM and CGA, and National Safe Digging Month aligns perfectly with our safety goals. Simple safety precautions, like calling 811, can save lives and help prevent utility line damage,” stated William “Bernie” Bernhard, AEM technical and safety services manager.

Diggers should call the free 811 line 72 hours prior to digging for all digging purposes.This includes any fieldwork regarding digging, or even digging out a pool or planting a tree. Utility lines vary in depth, and many are closer to the surface than expected. AEM also offers a vast collection of manufacturer-developed safety manuals, videos, and training materials.

Visit www.safetymaterials.org for more information.

About AEM – www.aem.org

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 950 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.