Common Ground Alliance announces national partnership with United Rentals

“Call 811” decals to be added to more than 12,000 pieces of equipment to remind excavators to dig safely and avoid underground utility lines.

Washington, December 17, 2010—The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the leading organization focused on protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them, has announced a national partnership with United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the world.

United Rentals is an integrated network of 554 rental locations in 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The company offers approximately 3,000 classes of equipment for rent with a total original cost of $3.8 billion.

United Rentals will place more than 12,000 “call 811” decals on its various pieces of equipment to remind its customers to always call the national 811 phone number a few days before digging.

When calling 811, professional excavators and homeowners are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.

CGA recently released the 2009 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, which estimated 170,000 underground utility lines were damaged last year during excavation, and one in three incidents were caused by an excavator’s failure to call 811 before digging. Backhoes and trenchers were the equipment used in 63 percent of the reported damages, with hand tools (21 percent) and drilling equipment (10 percent) well behind them for the third consecutive year.

“As a company that rents thousands of pieces of excavating equipment every day, we recognize our responsibility to provide our customers with the resources they need to dig safely,” said Raymond Alletto, vice president of United Rentals Risk Management. “United Rentals believes in the mission of CGA, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to reach so many excavators with the 811 message to protect not only our customers, but also their communities.”

The new partnership developed in large part due to the efforts of Deere & Company, which recommended United Rentals partner with CGA. Deere is a strategic supplier to United Rentals for earthmoving equipment, and it was a national launch partner of CGA when 811 went into effect in 2007.

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