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 www.byda.com.au.
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.
- PlanPlan 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.
- PreparePrepare 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.
- PotholeTo 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.
- ProtectIf 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.
- ProceedYou 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 www.byda.com.au
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 www.byda.com.au