New Universal Marking Standards Set

Two Year Review Yields Changes

Have you ever wondered how the Universal Marking Standards get updated or why a new Excavator Manual is produced every couple of years?

According to Ohio Revised Code 3781.29(C)(2), “All underground facilities shall be marked in accordance with the Ohio universal marking standards that are on file with the Ohio utilities protection service. Industry representatives serving on Ohio damage prevention councils shall review the marking standards every two years.”

The last revision took place in 2021 and was finalized in December of that year. OHIO811 works to facilitate these review of the standards and then makes the voted-on changes to the OHIO811 Excavator Manual.

While some standards, like the APWA Color code, are set nationally, there are many decisions that need to be made at the state level.

In the ever-changing landscape of the utility, locating and excavation industries,markings can become outdated or new markings are needed to accommodate emerging technology. This is why the universal marking standards need to be revised periodically.

Possible revisions were discussed at length in each regional Damage Prevention Council (NOTE:  there are 6 Damage Prevention Councils in the state of Ohio, if you would like to get involved in your local DPC visit

In March , DPC representatives met in Bellville, OH, to discuss possible changes. This meeting was facilitated by OHIO811 representatives who offer administrative assistance and give context to how the current marking standards were put in place.

After this meeting, there were several proposed changes to the Ohio Universal Marking Standards. Some examples of proposed changes included clarifying language on duct banks and conduit runs and moving the abbreviations and definitions of key words from the back to the front of the excavator manual.

After the proposed changes were discussed at the DPC level, there was a virtual statewide meeting on May 4th, 2023. At this meeting, the same representatives from each DPC were able to discuss what they and their DPC’s wanted changed. Each change was voted on individually, giving one vote to each damage prevention council, with representatives from OHIO811 facilitating, tallying votes, and continuing to give context when requested.

At the end of the meeting, six proposed changes were approved:

  1. Material Type Abbreviations and definitions were relocated to near the beginning of the Manual. This was proposed to give context earlier to provide industry-specific abbreviations and definitions.
  2. “The Process of Safe Digging” had the verbiage “If required” added to the notice to Premark your proposed excavation location as well as the reference to the proper section of the ORC outlining pre-marking (See page 20 ORC 3781.29(F) (1-4)).
  3. Language was clarified around calling 811 before you dig. The new language refers to calling 811 rather than utilizing a form of remote online locate request technology. There was also an addition of reminding callers to use positive response on the OHIO811 mobile app.
  4. Language was added in introducing the remote locate request entry program iDig. This added language is as follows: “WHEN USING OHIO811 REMOTE TICKET ENTRY: iDig remote ticket entry allows excavators, with training and passwords, to prepare and map their own 48-hour dig notification requests as well as design tickets. For more information and access to iDig training, visit
  5. Language surrounding duct banks and conduits was revised. The updated language is more consistent with the definition of duct banks and conduits, respectively.
  6. The relocation of the ‘For additional information on locating practices’ section from the previous page 39 to the previous page 38.

This meeting concluded the changes to the Ohio universal marking standards. Other aesthetic and grammatical changes were made to other areas of the OHIO811 Excavator Manual.

All the approved changes can be found in the 2023 OHIO811 Excavator Manual, which is currently available in English and Spanish digitally at  To obtain hard copies of the OHIO811 Excavator Manual, contact your local Liaison.  Find your local Liaison here.