Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Protecting 19 Million Residents with Increased Education and Underground Utility Safety

On Monday, November 5, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed landmark legislation that will work to further protect New York State’s excavators, utilities, families, and communities from the hazards associated to excavation-related accidents. This law provides that any local government or operator that contracts for excavation must ensure that the excavator has completed an approved training and education program. Under this law, Dig Safely New York’s Certified Excavator Program (CEP), a Public Service Commission-approved program, fulfills the training and education requirement, providing increased public safety and utility protection. Dig Safely New York Executive Director, Kevin Hopper stated, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill. Additionally, Senator Griffo (SD-47) and Assemblymember Paulin (AD-88) were instrumental as  bill sponsors, recognizing early on, the importance of educating excavators on safe digging best practices and securing the bill’s passage in the New York State Legislature.”

“Education and training from Dig Safely New York can reduce potential threat to underground infrastructure damage. Training and education around safe digging is needed, now more than ever, as the State works towards broadband access for all and addresses the State’s aging infrastructure, highlighting the importance of repairs to roads, bridges, sewers, water resources, and invests in large-scale renewable energy projects. We are eager to support these nation-leading statewide initiatives through our Certified Excavator Program (CEP), ensuring that utilities, families, and businesses are safe and protected.”

The "811" on the New Law
New York State’s General Business Law was amended to require “… any local government (defined as a “county, town [or], city [outside the city of New York or a county within the city of New York] or village.) that contracts with an excavator to excavate underground facilities must require the excavator to complete a one-call notification system training and education program.” Dig Safely New York, Inc. provides the required training and education, in-person and online through the Certified Excavator Program. The bill will take effect Saturday, May 4, 2019. To view the complete text of the law, please click here.

Dig Safely New York's Certified Excavator Program
The Dig Safely New York, Inc. Certified Excavator Program in Safe Digging Best Practices has set a new standard for training New York State professional excavators in the proper procedures of excavation.

When a person has successfully completed the Dig Safely New York Certified Excavator Program (CEP) in Safe Digging Best Practices, they are certified by the one-call center for five (5) years, demonstrating a fundamental understanding of the Safe Digging Best Practices that should be used for safe excavation in accordance with the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices and New York State Code Rule 753. Certifications are good for five (5)-years as long as the individual successfully attends one (1) free renewal class each year between the year certified and the expiration year. Free renewal classes include any individual/company training requested, any free Excavator Breakfast event, or any of the nine (9) annual Excavator Safety Seminars, hosted each March.

The program is an interactive course that may be taken in-person or online. This certification combines various learning styles, including audio, visual, and hands-on exercises that allow participants to apply their knowledge into situations and obstacles that could be encountered in the field. Dig Safely New York, Inc.’s Certified Excavator Program Resources:

About Dig Safely New York, Inc. 
Dig Safely New York, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that protects homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, communities, and professionals, by working as the liaison between community members and underground utility operators. Approaching its 50 year anniversary, Dig Safely New York has remained committed to its mission – to prevent damages to underground facilities and protect the public through education and quality communication with excavators, underground facility operators, and designers in an efficient, courteous, and cost-effective manner, while complying with governing regulations.

Dig Safely New York is the only one-call center that serves all of New York State, with the exception of New York City and Long Island, which is served by NY811. In an ever evolving landscape of technology and safety needs, the past 49 years have witnessed Dig Safely New York grow into an industry pioneer — not only across the state but the nation. Growing data supports, increased education of safe digging best practices works as a catalyst, results shown through a positive trend of increased location requests and decreases in underground utility damages. Currently, Dig Safely New York staffs more than 40 employees, operating from its headquarters at 6706 Collmar Road East Syracuse, New York, as well as its disaster recovery center in Latham, NY. 

To schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle R. Lake, Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator, at 315.437.7394 x4009, 315.418.5569, and/or