This Week’s Subject: Third-Party Damage

Question: Joe, I’ve heard damage to underground gas pipes referred to as “third-party” damage. What is third-party damage?

Answer: With respect to underground damage to gas-related facilities, the facility owner/operator is the first party. Any contractor working for the facility owner or operator is considered the second party. All other excavators (e.g., city water and sewer contractor, residential fence installer, other utilities and contractors) are referred to as third parties. So when an underground facility is hit and results in damage, this is referred to as “third-party” damage.

Tip: It’s important to ensure that damage prevention awareness programs are in place to educate company personnel, contractors, and the public about safety. This includes using the One-Call Center initiative and industry best practices to prevent any hits on all utility facilities. A written damage prevention program is a U.S. DOT regulatory requirement!

Calling 811 (the One-Call number) before digging is an essential first step in preventing damage to underground facilities, service interruptions, and potential hazards to the community. One-call centers are dedicated to protecting the public and construction personnel who work around utilities, as well as safeguarding the underground infrastructure of pipe mains and service lines.

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