Excavation projects obviously involve digging using an excavator. With the use of a breaker or hoe pack comes the risk of contact with an underground utility line. This includes the possibility of hitting a gas line, which creates a hazardous situation. How should your crew respond in the event an excavator ruptures a gas pipe?
Hitting a Gas Line Hazardous
Even with the best preparation, accidents, such as rupturing a gas line, can and do occur. In St. Cloud, MN, in 1998, a construction crew damaged a gas line that caused a massive fire. 15 people were injured and three buildings went up in flames. This was all due to a cut in a 1 1/8-inch plastic gas line while drilling a hole.
How to Act if You Hit a Gas Line
Protection of life and property is the first priority the minute you recognize damage to a gas line. The supervisor should immediately instruct all crewmembers to remove any ignitable sources from the vicinity. This includes shutting off all gas lights, engines, and electrical devices. Anything that might cause a spark could cause an explosion. Once you evacuate and secure the area, call 911 and the city's local gas service.
Additional Actions to Take
- Do not fill a bore hole where the pipe was damaged
- Do not backfill an excavation where the exposed pipe was ruptured
- Do not try to repair the pipe
- Do not try to put out any fires that result from leaking gas
Before starting a project, call 811 to identify and mark all utility locations.
Exercise Extreme Caution
When you use one of our excavators, please be mindful of the location and depth of all underground utilities. When you are ready to begin a contracted project, contact Active Excavator Rentals and learn about us. Hitting and rupturing a gas line has the potential to cause bodily injury and death.
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