The Pipeline Group brings the annual Public Education-Contactor Awareness Program to the Cain Center in Athens, Jan. 11 at 6.30 p.m.

The Athens program will be in the Cain Center Multipurpose Hall. A free dinner catered by Danny’s Smokehouse will be provided.

The program is the combined effort of several companies with the goal of preventing accidents and damages to underground pipelines and utilities.

Pipeline Group spokesman LeNita Harmon said, “The program is designed for anyone who digs or may dig. Any contractor whose company is involved in excavation should come.”

The brief safety program will stress the importance of contractors working with pipeline and utility companies to safely excavate in the vicinity of underground facilities Harmon said.

“Ernie Sharp is presenter for the program,” Harmon said. “He will stress the one call system.”

Texas law requires notification to the One Call Center before excavation can begin. Sharp will explain how the system works, what information the excavator should provide the center and what questions might be asked.

Harmon said each year many are injured and lives are lost due to someone digging into a pipeline. Also, when fiber optic cables are cut it can cause thousands to lose communication. The damages can be financially devastating to party responsible.

“The safety program is an attempt to help those who do excavation work avoid those situations,” Harmon said.

The Pipeline Group formed in 1992 when Joe Murphy, who had worked several years in pipeline construction, met with a group of operators in Midland to develop a combined damage prevention program. The first contractor awareness program was presented the following year.

RSVP for the Pipeline Group’s annual education program by calling 1-800-982-8752 by Jan. 3. Seating is limited. Dinner from Danny’s Smokehouse is included. Admission is free.

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