Diman students Cory Almeida, Kayden Cordeiro, and Kaylan Souza speak with Liberty Utilities' Hannah Camara at a Dig Safe event at White's of Westport. Photo by Colin Furze
Diman student Kayden Souza at a Dig Safe Event at White's in Westport. Photo by Colin Furze
WESTPORT — Diman students got a clearer glimpse of a potential future career during an industry training on safety around utility lines run by Fall River’s gas company.
On Wednesday around 200 people, most of them utility and excavation workers, gathered at White’s of Westport for a morning-long underground safety training run by Liberty Massachusetts, the natural gas company for Greater Fall River. About a dozen attendees were sophomores from Diman’s HVAC program.
“It really has a lot to do with the work we do,” said Jayln Pelletier, a Diman student. “Safety plays a part in everything.”
Much of the training focused on utilizing Dig Safe, a private nonprofit that notifies utility companies when someone plans to dig around their transmission lines, so that companies can mark their lines and avoid accidents. Anyone planning to do any sort of excavation is required by law to call Dig Safe first.
Anyone who disrupts a public utility by digging underground unsafely can face fines, along with the service disruptions and possible dangers that come with interfering with a gas, electrical or similar line.
Even private homeowners planning a relatively small project like putting in a pull or even a mailbox that extends into the ground should call and make sure they’re not about to dig right into an important transmission line, said Jim Carey, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for Liberty Massachusetts.
“There are thousands and thousands of Dig Safe tickets every year,” he said.
Carey said before the pandemic, the company had invited Diman students to the yearly training. After a few years off, the students are back. The company has also held a similar session in the past at the school itself. Workers who learn these skills during high school can come onto a job already with positive habits, he said.
“Getting kids involved initially helps them set good work practices,” he said.