When it comes to shoveling standards – go for the gold. Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) Certified for MISS DIG 811 that is.

If you are an excavator or contractor, you’ve probably heard of this digging standard, which is aimed at reducing and preventing damages to underground utility lines on professional excavation sites by 50 percent.

Throughout Michigan, there are thousands of miles of high-pressure natural gas lines, petroleum transmission lines and lower-pressure distribution lines. Pipelines that fuel our economy and way of life by bringing clean-burning natural gas to homes and business. Yet, each year, thousands of utility lines are struck, which can cause service outages, gas leaks and result in costly repair bills for excavators.

In Michigan alone, more than 1,000 contracting companies have been GSS-certified. The goal of the certification is obvious: reduce and prevent damages to underground utility lines by exhibiting extreme caution and creating a standard of safe working that allows your employees and clients to feel confident in your work.

But why is this important?

Not only does it ensure your company is trained to dig safely, but it ensures your projects run smoothly without any surprises to your project scope, budget and schedule. By bringing attention to damage prevention, you are demonstrating your commitment to consistency in performance, efficiencies in personnel and equipment.

Being certified also makes excavation companies and contractors more likely to be hired. Companies like DTE Energy, along with local municipal and state departments, prefer and often require companies be GSS certified. This helps keep safety top-of-mind on all projects, by significantly minimizing damages and keeping our communities safe.

April is MISS DIG awareness month, and if you’re not already GSS certified, now is the perfect time to start the process.

Excavators interested in becoming Gold Shovel Standard certified should visit www.goldshovelstandard.org, send an email to info@goldshovelstandard.org or call 855-676-7252.

Learn more about digging safely with the Excavation Guide in English or Espanol.