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Now that warmer weather has arrived, the 2020 excavation season is well underway. With that comes a rising increase in Gopher State One-Call locate requests. While excavators rely on the timely response and accurate locates by the utility operators, it’s just as important for excavators to do their part in order to perform their work safely.

The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) reminds all excavators that white-marking their proposed excavations is not only a best practice, it is also required by law. The requirement for white-marking proposed excavations can be found under Minnesota state statute 216D.05 (2). The requirement reads as follows: “An excavator shall use white markings for proposed excavations except where it can be shown that it is not practical.”

There are very few instances where the requirement is not practical. White-marking a job site may require extra travel or coordination with another individual, however it is still an important and necessary step. White-marking has been part of Minnesota’s One-Call Law since 1998.

MNOPS has received numerous complaints recently where white-marking has not been performed by the excavator. In 2019, industry stakeholders submitted 64 complaints to MNOPS for excavators failing to white-mark their proposed excavations.

As of May 11, 34 complaints have been submitted for the year. MNOPS has the authority to issue a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation per day of violation whenever an excavator fails to comply with the Minnesota's One-Call Law. MNOPS has proposed $8,700 in civil penalties against excavators failing to white-mark so far this year.

Again, we urge all stakeholders to comply with the Minnesota One-Call Law to avoid unnecessary costs and, more importantly, keep their crews and the public safe. To view a brief online case study discussing the importance of white-marking, follow this link to download and view the PowerPoint presentation. If you wish to submit a complaint regarding a potential One-Call Law violation, please follow this link.

For any additional questions or to provide feedback, feel free to contact our main line at 651-201-7230 or email dps.mnops.response@state.mn.us.

Thank you,
The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety

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