You cannot be too careful when it comes to safe excavation.

Avoiding underground pipe and cable damage is as simple as having the right tools, the right skills and the right information. Each Asset Owner can provide information on their requirements in regard to safe digging practices. This may include manually exposing the network. Simply contact the Asset Owner to find out how to work safely around their underground networks. Their contact details will be found on the Confirmation Sheet you receive from Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) or on the information you receive from the Asset Owner.

Study the plans you receive from Asset Owners thoroughly. Check to see if they relate to the area you requested and make sure you understand them. If you are unclear about what the symbols mean or how to proceed, contact the relevant network owner.

When working in the vicinity of underground networks, it is important to observe any instructions stated on the plans provided by the Asset Owner. Underground assets may be as little as a few millimetres below the surface.

Unfortunately, not all of Australia’s underground Asset Owners are members of Dial Before You Dig. Therefore never assume that the plans you receive from your enquiry represent the only underground assets in your excavation area.

Note: Underground location plans provide information about network presence only; they do not pinpoint the exact location.

The Four P's of Excavation

There is an easy way to ensure you take all of the right steps in making your excavation project a success. Just follow the 4 P’s of Excavation:


Plan your job. Use the Dial Before You Dig service at least two business days before your job is due to begin to ensure you have the correct information you need to carry out a safe project.


Potholing (hand digging) is a method to assist in establishing the exact location of all underground infrastructure.


Protecting and supporting the exposed infrastructure is the responsibility of the excavator. Always erect safety barriers in areas at risk to protect underground networks.


BUT only when you have planned, potholed and put the protective measures in place.

Dial Before You Dig – the Essential First Step of Excavation. Visit us now at and lodge your enquiry online. Enquiries can also be lodged by calling our national call centre on 1100 during business hours.

Before starting:

  • use facility records and a visual inspection to gather site information to determine hazards, exposures, and/or other potential safety problems
  • identify any site characteristics that may impact safety on the job
  • locate potentially dangerous physical obstructions and plan how to work around them
  • consider traffic hazards
  • identify soil conditions and other factors like trenches, pits, bores, standing water, etc. that could affect safety and plan how to work around them
  • locate the nearest hospital, fire department, police department, and any other relevant emergency response organisation and how to get there
  • develop a safety plan including procedures, employee roles, equipment and time requirements


When locating assets

  • the owner/operator and locator must identify all hazards and train employees to be aware of them while conforming to federal, state/territory, local regulations and industry codes


Worker safety

You have a Duty of Care to ensure that:

  • employees and subcontractors are trained and briefed on all safety measures such as exposure to potentially hazardous conditions, avoiding unnecessary risks, and putting safety first
  • all workers wear high-visibility clothing and personal protection
  • safety features for ladders, electrical test devices, and other instruments are in working order
  • any confined space your workers have to enter is safe, controlled and adequately monitored and/or ventilated. Please note: Some Asset Owners have restrictions on entering confined spaces and have specific health and safety induction and training requirements


When you have finished:

  • ensure that all personnel and equipment are accounted for and the site is safe
  • ensure that all safety-related equipment is returned/restored
  • conduct a work-safety review of the locating activity and specify what improvements could be made