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What does it mean when I find buried yellow CAUTION tape when digging a hole in the yard?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The tape is a warning that an underground electric cable that delivers power to the home, called the “service lateral,” runs underneath it. No circuit breaker protects the cable, and a short caused by a shovel piercing the cable and connecting service wires would be especially dangerous. So stop digging.

    The “warning tape” requirement was added to the National Electric Code  in the 1999 edition (NEC 300.5(D)(3)), and homes built earlier may not have it. The code requires tape to be placed 12-inches above the cable or PVC conduit, unless it is encased in concrete. 


Here’s what it says:

Underground service conductors that are not encased in concrete and that are buried 450 mm (18 in.) or more below grade shall have their location identified by a warning ribbon that is placed in the trench at least 300 mm (12 in.) above the underground installation. 

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SAFETY: 

Why is it important to use "cabinet screws" to mount the upper cabinets in the kitchen?

Is the door between an attached garage and the house required to have a closer (self-closing device)?

Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house? 

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

What is aging in place? 

How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside? 

What is the minimum height of a ceiling fan above the floor?

Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen? 

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard? 

Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

What can I do to avoid kitchen accidents and injuries?

Where are smoke alarms required to be located? 

Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in homes in Florida?

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?  

How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

Do you inspect for trip hazards around the home? 

When should I replace my smoke alarms?

• Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range? 

• What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

• What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

    Visit our ELECTRICAL and SAFETY pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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