Why You Should Always Call 811 Before You Dig - A Reminder On 811 Day

811 Day Graphic 1-2

Why You Should Always Call 811 Before You Dig - A Reminder On National 811 Day

Damage to underground utility lines is a major problem in the United States. Incidents caused by unsafe digging practices can compromise community safety and disconnect people from critical services. This is why the 811 service remains one of the most important national services available to contractors and homeowners. 

In this article, we will be discussing what 811 day is and why it is essential to always call 811 before you dig!

What is 811? 

811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to their state 811 center’s website before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line.


811 Day is an annual initiative led by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to ensure that the practice of safe digging is echoed in communities by calling 8-1-1, a nationwide toll-free number, before any excavation project. 


811 is an essential service for damage prevention and seeks to eliminate damages caused by digging, which remains the leading cause of pipeline incidents. The 811 service was enacted due to a disaster that occurred in the late ’60s, where there was a major accident on the west coast that caused major gas leakages, fires, and power outages due to improper digging. In response to this, the 811 law was passed.


The 811 law required that all companies (including utilities/government agencies) or individuals who undertake an excavation project call 811 prior to start of the project. It also required lines and markings to be drawn around areas to indicate the presence of pipelines, cables, fiber underneath the surface. Each state has their own unique processes and laws for digging.

When an 811 call is received, the call center is required to create a Locate Request Ticket referred to as One Call ticket. Additionally, it mandated that all the utility companies respond to 811 tickets (referred to as one-call tickets) raised by the excavators with the call centers within a certain timeframe. These call centers have the important responsibility of managing, tracking, and closing these tickets with the goal of minimizing the occurrence of accidents. 

Why It Is Important To Dig Safely 


Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged or destroyed because an excavator did not properly mark the warning lines before digging. The depth and placement of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons including erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces, which makes planning and preparation very important. 

Making assumptions about where the utility lines are under your property can be extremely dangerous. Even striking a single line can result in injury, significant repair costs, fines, and inconvenient outages for you and your neighbors. 


The odds for avoiding disaster during these dig-ins improve by nearly 99% if lines are properly marked in advance. If protocols are not followed and 811 is not consulted, there can be significant damages to not just the immediate area, but the entire community. When excavators follow the federal guidelines and ensure they are digging properly, damages and accidents can be avoided. This is what makes 811 so important - it provides a very useful service to mitigate accidents and damages!

One of the major organizations promoting safe digging and Damage Prevention is the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). It is a member driven alliance committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. Membership in the CGA is open to all stakeholders with a genuine interest in reducing damages to the underground infrastructure. CGA’s top-tier members represent some of the largest companies and organizations in North America.

How To Dig Safely 


Excavators must take a proactive approach to safety by utilizing the 811 One-Call System and adhering to the following steps of a safe excavation:

  • Always call before you dig.

Federal and state laws require you to place a locate request prior to digging or excavating. It is also good practice to ensure you know about the area you are going to dig.

  • Wait the required time.

Once you call, you will need to wait in order for the call center to determine the details of your site and project. Do not begin excavating prior to your stated start date and time.

  • Confirm Utility Response

After the call center has notified member utilities of the pending excavation, you are responsible for making sure each utility operator has responded prior to digging.

  • Respect the Marks

Familiarize yourself with the markings and the locations of buried facilities at the site prior to excavation.

  • Dig With Care!

Dig test holes to verify location, type, size, direction-of-run, and depth of the marked facility. Remember - you can never be too careful in these situations!

As you can tell, the call centers that handle the one-call ticketing processes play a crucial role in damage prevention.  Also the improvements in efficiency with which the utilities respond to these tickets will result in significantly reduced damages and accidents.

BOSS Solutions created an industry-leading Cloud based One-Call Ticketing  solution with this objective in mind. BOSS811 is a cloud based One Call Ticket Management Solution for Municipalities, Utilities and Locator Companies managing excavation requests.

It comes with an award winning UI and easy navigation. With Facility map integration, it provides a visual component for effective management and tracking of dig requests. The  powerful ticket screening capability makes it easy to close tickets automatically or alert appropriate locators.

BOSS Solutions is a proud partner in damage prevention.


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About the Author:

Kristin Reed is a Senior Support Engineer with BOSS Solutions. Kristin has been part of the Damage Prevention Industry for 11 years. She is committed to helping utilities and locators protect their facilities and keeping excavators safe at the dig site.

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Help Desk vs. Service Desk: Which one is right for your Organization?

HelpDesk vs ServiceDesk

Help Desk vs. Service Desk 


When it comes to IT ticketing and workflow, some teams use the terms ‘help desk’ and ‘service desk’ interchangeably. However, there are important differences between these two forms of  technical support.


These differences mostly stem from the terms’ origins. The service desk is a more recently introduced concept. It focuses heavily on the rising need for excellent customer service. The help desk, by contrast, has been around for as long as there have been internal IT problems to resolve.


To help you decide which one is right for your organization, we’ll dig a little deeper into the functions of each option.

What is a Help Desk?

A help desk, also called a HelpDesk or IT help desk, typically focuses on incident management and problem resolution. The help desk team isn’t necessarily antisocial. However, it is often more invested in solving problems quickly rather than providing friendly service to end-users.


Many modern help desks in fact don’t interact with customers. Instead, they focus only on supporting internal IT needs. The help desk tracks incidents, solves problems, performs routing, and generally manages IT ticket workflow. It often is limited to Level 1 & 2 support in enterprise companies with the ability to manage service levels.


Help desks handle incidents, which are unplanned interruptions to, or reduced quality of, IT service. This includes things like computers not booting up, trouble logging in, or issues with a network connection. A help desk can provide a quick fix to resolve these issues.


When it comes to service requests, such as user requests for information or advice, IT help desks usually don’t have the capacity to meet customer demands. Yet, organizations can’t solely focus on minimizing employee downtime. To ensure positive customer experiences, they must make it easy for users to report issues and provide great customer service while resolving them. This calls for a service desk.


What is a Service Desk?

Sometimes called ServiceDesk, this support focuses more heavily on providing high-quality care when handling service requests. A service desk communicates directly with end-users such as customers and can also resolve internal incidents. The service desk handles service delivery by walking users through onboarding or provisioning access to software like Office 365, for example.


A service desk considers the big picture and the user experience of technical support. It may provide self-service options like articles explaining how to perform certain functions. Some service desk teams even manage online communities and forums where users ask questions and report incidents.


The service desk likely uses a help desk to close tickets and perform service request management. It also does much more. The team works proactively across an organization to improve IT management. If an opportunity to increase technical efficiency arises, you can trust the service desk to pursue it.


Ultimately, a service desk is more powerful than a help desk and more valuable for organizations with a growing customer base.

What About ITSM and ITIL?

While learning about help desks and service desks, you may have come across the terms ‘ITSM’ and ‘ITIL’.


  • ITSM stands for IT Service Management. This concept goes beyond even the service desk. ITSM includes everything IT in an organization and the planning and development of new IT services.


  • ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library. The ITIL describes a detailed framework for IT service best practices. It acts as an industry standard in IT, guides organizations in their pursuit to deliver quality services, and increases user satisfaction. Interested individuals can seek ITIL certification through qualified providers.


Especially large organizations like enterprise companies may require robust ITSM to manage their complex needs. They may also seek ITIL-certified individuals to include on their IT team.


Do You Need a Service Desk or Help Desk?

For a new organization, a Help Desk meets internal IT needs.


However, as a company grows, it will need a Service Desk. IT is becoming a business enabler that does far more than just resolving technical issues. This is especially true with the increased need to support users who are working remotely. Dependence on integration to third-party tools has also increased.


Management teams recognize that it’s more important than ever to enhance the user experience and improve the quality of services with the help of a service desk. If you’re dealing with rapidly growing demand on IT, a service desk is likely the best option.


Identifying a solution helps you build ITSM that enables organization-wide efficiency and increases user satisfaction. A solution that helps you get started quickly and easily make changes or improvements as needed lets you implement best practices without costing an arm and a leg.

Find the Best Service Desk For Your Organization

There are many service desk options available on the market today. However, you don’t want to pay for a system with features that don’t meet your needs. To identify the strongest solutions, here are some key things you’ll want to look for in a modern service desk:


  • Management. Be sure your solution manages everything: incidents, assets, problems, changes, contracts, and purchases.
  • Compatibility. Ideal service desks are accessible and usable across devices, including tablets and mobile phones for easily tagging and scanning assets.
  • Security. Check to make sure your service desk provider is compliant with IT security and other requirements.
  • Visibility. Robust solutions offer dashboards, reporting, real-time data, and business intelligence you can use to help make better decisions for your company.
  • Versatility. Service desk technology should be able to handle individual accounts as well as make bulk updates and changes when needed, like auto-resolving related requests.
  • Integrations. Does your organization already use warranty check software and other third-party solutions? A service desk that integrates with them means smoother implementation.
  • ITIL Practices. A service desk that uses best practices can be trusted.
  • ITSM Capability. This especially goes for large or growing companies.

Whether your organization is small or large, we have the right Help Desk/ Service Desk with advanced capabilities that can grow with your organization . BOSSDesk is a highly-ranked integrated ITIL service solution noted for its ease of use and customizability. With U.S.-based support and affordable pricing, organizations can meet all their Help desk, Service desk, and ITSM needs in one place.

          Get a free Demo of BOSSDesk Cloud or On Premise today! 

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