Call Before You Dig

According to Indiana Code 8-1-26, you must call the Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service Call Before You Dig Center before beginning any excavation project. The number is 811.

OSHA 1926 Standard for Construction, Subpart B, also requires that you determine the estimated location of utility installations, such as sewer, telephone, fuel, electric water lines or any other underground installation that may be encountered before opening an excavation.

Premark your location with white paint, flags or both. Call the 811 number at least two full working days before you dig. Provide the center with the location of the site. Be specific. The center will give you a reference number that is proof of your call. After making the call to 811, you must wait 48 hours before beginning work to ensure that all utility companies have had time to respond.

When utility locators respond to your request, they will mark the utilities with paint or flags. Below are the colors that may be used for marking and what they represent:


If weather, lawn mowing, traffic or other activities cause you to lose your marks, notify Indiana 811 immediately and have your reference number ready to request a remark. Do not refresh the marks with your own paint. An additional notice of two full working days is required for the remark.

Indiana law requires that the excavator observe the tolerance zone during excavation. That is an area equal to the width of the underground facility plus 24 inches on each side of the buried utility. Excavate by hand, if necessary, until the utility is visibly located. Be sure someone other than the equipment operator, i.e. the spotter, is there to look for any sign of the underground facility.

For your safety, don’t assume that a pipeline or cable runs straight between two markers. Don’t assume that an underground facility is the same depth throughout the excavation area. Don’t bend over a gas line or self-repair a line. And don’t assume all utilities have responded to your request. Assess the proposed excavation area for indications of unmarked facilities.

If your job will last longer than 20 calendar days, you must renew your locate request at least two full working days before it expires.

When you call before you dig, you are helping to protect yourself, your fellow workers and the public, as well as the environment.

Download the recording form here.