Archived News | Return to News Center

November 2, 2001

"Digger's Night Out" held at ULM

Last week, approximately 150 people from 48 companies showed their support for digging safety by attending Monroe's third annual "Digger's Night Out."

The ULM School of Construction, in conjunction with the Ouachita Parish Joint Utility Council, hosted this event on Thursday, October 25, 2001 on the 7th floor of the ULM Library. Jeff Morrison of BellSouth was the Master of Ceremonies.

"Digger's Night Out is a nationwide program that focuses on the safety and risks of digging underground. The seminar emphasizes measures that need to be taken by contractors, foreman and operators before they begin any job," said Dr. Keith Parker, Director of the ULM School of Construction.

Mr. Vic Weston, President of Tri-State Boring, Inc., was this year's guest speaker. "The function of utility councils is to educate the contractors. It is an education of teamwork with the utilities and contractors working together. We have shifted emphasis from cost to safety. We don't look for production first. We look for safety first," said Weston.

This past year in Franklin, IN, over 1,000 students were evacuated from a high school when workers hit a gas main while working on the school's baseball diamond. Workers in Holley, NY, cut a gas line while installing a light tower in a playground causing 650 elementary school children to be evacuated. Cable installers cut telephone wires leaving some 3,100 people in Fort Worth, TX, without phone service. Incidents like these occur all over the United States. For this reason, underground locating and digging safety has become a priority in today's construction industry as well as in our local area.

"This program helps to educate area workers about the Louisiana Underground Utilities and Facilities Damage Prevention Law," said David Frey, Louisiana One Call Damage Prevention Manager. "Under this law, companies must call Louisiana One Call before starting their digging operations. Then they must wait 48 hours for buried utilities to be identified and marked with colored sprays. Failure to do this could have the company pay up to $25,000 for a civil penalty. The Louisiana State Police has recently issued three citations for violation to this law."

Sponsors of this year's event were: Atmos Energy, the Association of Louisiana Utility Councils, BellSouth, CenturyTel, Columbia Gulf Transmissions, Ditch Witch of Louisiana, Entergy, Gulf South Pipeline, Koch Pipeline, Louisiana AGC, Louisiana
One Call, Pro-Techs of Louisiana, Scott Construction Equipment, Scott Powerline & Utility, MCI Worldcom, Time Warner Cable, the ULM School of Construction and Williams-Texas Gas.

"As the leader in construction education, the ULM School of Construction has a duty to promote and be a part of this very active campaign to educate those involved in working around underground utilities," Dr. Parker said.

More companies are expected to attend the event next year. For more information about underground damage prevention, check the Louisiana One Call web site at

For more information contact: Vanessa Prevost at ULM School of Construction at 342-1862

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.