Two excavation diggers lifting dirt at construction site


While accidental contact with underground powerlines can leave entire communities without essential services, the bigger issue is the risk to workers' lives. 
Did you know there are approximately 64,260km of underground electricity cables within Australia?

Is it really that big of an issue?

Each year there are hundreds of strikes with underground cables (powerlines) in Australia, which lead to approximately 300 hospitalisations and, sadly, 15 deaths. Knowing how to safely plan your work isn’t just about getting the job done; it's about making it home at the end of each day.

Whether you’re preparing a site, clearing land, landscaping, or excavating soil, rock, or other building material, it’s essential you know what lies beneath the surface.

How do I get this info?

Before You Dig Australia (BYDA) is a national organisation providing free pre-excavation information to the community. Through BYDA, anybody can access plans and information about the location of underground assets including electricity, gas, water, and communications. BYDA aims to be a single point of contact to request information on any infrastructure networks at your planned project site, so you don’t need to contact each utility organisation individually. You may know them by their old name, Dial Before You Dig.


Anyone can access this service

The service isn’t just for large projects. It’s essential to check pre-excavation information for any job, big or small. With 64,260 km of underground electricity cables across Australia, whether you’re working on a home renovation, or on a worksite, don’t start excavation until obtaining plans from Before You Dig Australia. Visit

Getting your BYDA plans

There are three easy steps to follow.

  1. Register online. Create a free account and locate your dig site.
  2. Submit your request. BYDA will notify relevant asset owners of your proposed works.
  3. Receive asset plans and information directly to your inbox.
Before You Dig Australia logo

Five P's for safe excavation

Don’t discover underground electricity cables by accident. Follow the five P’s to keep you and your workmates safe.

  1. Plan
    Plan ahead by lodging your Before You Dig enquiry at least one business day before your project begins. Ensure you have the correct information required to carry out a safe project.
  2. Prepare
    Prepare by reviewing the utility plans and contacting the asset owners if you need assistance. Look for onsite asset clues such as pit lids, marker posts and meters. Engage a Before You Dig Certified Locator who can assist you in locating assets electronically before potholing or digging.
  3. Pothole
    To establish the exact location of all underground infrastructure, potholing is permitted if using the asset owner’s stated method as specified on the asset owner’s plan and / or information pack.
  4. Protect
    If potholing has occurred, protect the infrastructure by communicating information to all those working on site, erecting barriers and / or marking the location of the exposed infrastructure.
  5. Proceed
    You should only proceed with your excavation work after you've planned, potholed (unless prohibited) and have protective measures in place. Find out more about safe excavation by visiting

Codes and regulations to keep you safe

Regulations often stem from a need to keep people safe. Workplace health and safety legislation and codes of practice are designed to do just that. They provide guidance on achieving the work health and safety standards required under WHS laws.

Many states will have planning requirements for anyone looking to do excavation work. This is critical to managing risks on work sites and ensuring workers are following safe practices. Whether you are overseeing a crew or managing the site, you need to comply with all duty of care requirements.

It is important you check the regulations and the codes of practice that apply in each state before commencing any excavation work.

To learn more visit

In an emergency call 000

your electricity distributor

Information icon
Check your electricity distributor's website or social media for updates on power outages.
Electricity distributors in Australia have resources including outage maps that can be accessed online. Many also give live updates via social media.
telephone icon
Contact your electricity distributor to report fallen wires or damaged poles and powerlines.
If you notice an electrical hazard, report it to your electricity distributor immediately, either online or by phone.