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Digging down? Watch those gas lines

June 27, 2003
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A new bulletin issued by OSHA advises contractors on hazards associated with striking underground gas lines during excavation work.

The advisory informs workers and employees about OSHA's requirements intended to prevent damage to underground utility installations during excavation work. The bulletin also recommends informing the pipeline operator immediately if the excavator causes damage to a pipeline and to call 911 or other emergency numbers if the damage results in a release of natural gas or other hazardous substances.

The bulletin details an incident in 1998, where a cable construction company installation crew in St. Cloud, Minn., struck and ruptured an underground gas pipeline, resulting in a natural gas leak. After the rupture, an explosion occurred, causing four fatalities and several other injuries.

To obtain the bulletin, visit

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