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Use a rounded or blunt-edged shovel. Sharp tools, like pickaxes, mattocks, prybars or pointed spades, may gouge or puncture lines.
Start your digging off to the side of the marked utility line. Use a gentle prying motion to break away soil as you approach the utility laterally.
Never pry against a utility line to remove soil, and never stab at the soil or stomp on the shovel with both feet.
Hand digging with rounded edge shovel
811 Know what’s below. Call before you dig.
Additional safety guidelines, instructional videos and training tools are available at Consumers Energy’s Work Safe website.