Code 753 at a Glance

Enforced by the Public Service Commission, New York State Code Rule 753 (also referred to as Part 753, Industrial Code 53 or Code 53) addresses the protection of underground facilities. The code includes the following major components:

  1. All owners of underground facilities must be members of one of the two one call centers in the state (New York 811 and Dig Safely New York).
  2. All New York contractors excavating on commercial or residential property must notify their local one call center two working days prior to the project’s excavation date.

The code also includes detailed information on fines, the tolerance zone, personal property and line marking color codes. Professional excavators are expected to know and obey this code.

Here’s a summary of what you need to know (click here for the full text of Code Rule 753):
By law, excavators and contractors MUST contact New York 811 at least two working days but no more than 10 days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before beginning any excavation project. You can submit your request through ITIC —our free, Web-based ticket-entry system—or by calling 811 (national call before you dig number).

The following types of excavation work require a call to New York 811:

  • Demolition*
  • Grading
  • Digging
  • Auguring
  • Backfilling
  • Drilling
  • Grading
  • Jack hammering
  • Tree root removal
  • Trenching
  • Plowing or driving cable or pipeline
  • Tunneling
  • Boring

* Excavators planning demolition work must request a pre-demolition conference at least seven working days before the project start date with all member operators who have underground facilities at or near the demolition area. Call New York 811, by dialing, for more information.

Think your job’s too small? It’s always best to call!
Contacting New York 811 before you dig is the only way to determine the approximate location of an underground facility.

By not calling, you risk:

  • Costly property and environmental damage
  • Explosion or fire
  • Power or utilities services interruptions
  • Job delays
  • Legal problems
  • Injury—or even death

Excavators and contractors should follow these steps for safe digging…

  1. Contact New York 811 via ITIC or by calling 811 at least two working days but no more than 10 days (excluding weekends and legal holidays), before beginning any excavation work.
  2. Have the following information handy when you call or enter your request online:
    • Name, telephone number and address of excavator or excavation company
    • Name and phone number of worksite contact person
    • Exact digging location
    • Type work to be done
    • Extent and dimensions of planned work area
    • Date and time you plan to start
  3. Outline the area you plan to excavate with white paint.
  4. Wait until lines are marked before excavating. Once we notify the appropriate utility companies, they will have two working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to mark their lines with colored flags, stakes or paint.
  5. Once your worksite is marked, proceed with care, making sure to respect the “tolerance” zone (one half of the known diameter plus two feet on either side of the designated center line, or if the diameter of the underground facility is not known, two feet on either side of the designated center line). Click here to view a helpful diagram. Hand tools are required when working in the tolerance zone until the exact facility location is verified.
  6. Do not remove flags, stakes or paint marks until finished.

If you hit a line…
Contact the utility company (if known) as well as New York 811 immediately even if there appears to be no damage. (Not all damage can be detected by the naked eye.)

If a substance starts releasing into the air, such as natural gas, call 9-1-1. For your safety, walk away immediately and take steps to clear the area. Don’t try to repair or stop a leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone.

Free safety presentation!
New York 811 features two staff liaisons charged with promoting safe digging throughout our region. Each year, they make over 150 educational presentations to various organizations, including excavation companies and contractor groups. Click here to learn more.

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