In 1976, the JULIE System was accepted by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) as compliance with the notification center section of General Order 185. The Illinois General Assembly enacted the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act on January 1, 1991. Changes to the Act became effective in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009. The law requires anyone excavating outside the city of Chicago to contact the Illinois Notification Center System, JULIE, before digging and requires owners and operators of underground utility facilities to be members of the notification center system.

Enforcement

The ICC has the power and jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the Act and may impose administrative penalties as provided in the Act.

When a penalty is warranted, the following criteria shall be used in determining the magnitude of the penalty:

  • Gravity of noncompliance
  • Culpability of offender
  • History of noncompliance for the 18 months prior to the date of the incident; however, when determining non-compliance the alleged violator’s roles as operator or owner and the person engaged in excavating shall be treated separately
  • Ability to pay penalty
  • Show of good faith of offender
  • Ability to continue business
  • Other special circumstances

Suspected violations may be reported to the ICC via the following methods:

  1. Online via the ICC website
  2. In writing to the attention of:
    Manager, JULIE Enforcement
    527 E. Capitol Ave.
    Springfield, Illinois 62701
  3. Via phone at 217-782-5911

Documentation is extremely important. The ICC enforcement process involves up to three steps:

  1. ICC staff review
  2. Appeal to Advisory Committee
  3. Appeal to ICC, Formal Hearing

The Act

Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act 

Part 265 Protection of Underground Utility Facilities

OSHA Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations when it comes to protecting utility installations before excavation and protecting employees from cave-in related hazards while working in trenches and excavations. The employer has several options when it comes to protecting employees, some of which are sloping, benching, shoring, and shielding. The specific OSHA standards can be found in 29 CFR 1926.650, .651, and .652. These standards and other useful information can be found on OSHA’s Web site.

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