Safety Tips for Contractors & Excavators

Avoid hazards and prevent pipeline damage by reviewing the following safety information.

Accidents involving contractors and excavators are one of the leading causes of pipeline damage. With approximately 100,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in SoCalGas® service territory, unmarked pipelines can be anywhere. Damage to natural gas pipelines can cause injury or death and can result in additional costs.

Because of this, it's especially important for contractors and excavators to be informed of the potential safety issues that might arise when working around natural gas pipelines.

Follow these important steps before you contact 811

Recognize a Natural Gas Leak

Be aware of signs you may see, hear or smell to further improve the safety of your home and community.

[1] Some persons may not be able to smell the odor because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue (normal, temporary inability to distinguish an odor after prolonged exposure to it) or because the odor is being masked or hidden by other odors that are present, such as cooking, damp, musty or chemical odors. In addition, certain conditions in pipe and soil can cause odor fade the loss of odorant so that is not detectable by smell.

Odor Fade

Sometimes physical and/or chemical processes can cause a loss of odorant in natural gas, making it undetectable by smell. Odor fade is more likely to occur in the following situations:

  • In new, steel pipe that has been recently manufactured or hasn’t been used for odorized natural gas before
  • In natural gas piping systems using higher gas pressure, and when natural gas flow is limited or intermittent
  • In the presence of rust, mill scale, moisture, air, cutting oil, pipe thread compound, liquids, condensates and other substances

Because of the possibility of odor fade, it's important to not rely only on your sense of smell to be alerted to a natural gas leak.

For a printable copy about odor fade and safe purging practices, see our Safety Brochures and Materials . If you
have additional questions or concerns regarding pipe conditioning or odor fade, call us at 1-800-427-2200 or contact a licensed, qualified professional.

How to Prepare for Fumigation

Before fumigating make sure to have your natural gas service shut off by a SoCalGas technician.

Earthquake Shut Off and Excess Flow Valves

See how shut off and excess flow valves can help in an emergency.

Clearing an Exterior Sewer Line

Make sure your sewer line isn’t blocked by a natural gas pipeline.

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing

Learn about issues concerning corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) and learn about the applicable codes and
manufacturers' instructions that need to be followed when working with it.

Learn More

Purging Natural Gas Lines

Learn what safety precautions to take when purging a natural gas line.

Learn More

Solar Grounding

Do not use the natural gas meter for electric bonding or grounding.

Learn More