New safety guidelines for excavating

Friday, 26 June, 2009

New safety guidelines to help protect the lives of Victorians and prevent damage to essential underground services were launched recently by the Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor, stating: “Careless excavation threatens lives and livelihoods and can result in millions of dollars' worth of damage to services, such as gas and water pipes, electricity and communication cables.

“New Dial Before You Dig Service Guidelines, endorsed by Energy Safe Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria, will assist excavators to make informed decisions before they begin to dig and reduce the risk of injury, damage or disruption.”

The guidelines outlined:

  • the responsibilities of people and companies planning to dig, including excavators, planners and engineers;
  • the responsibilities of asset owners, including water, gas and electricity companies; and
  • information about Dial Before You Dig in Victoria and the service it provides.

Energy Safe Victoria’s Director of Energy Safety Ken Gardner said the location of pipes and cables underground was not easy to predict: “They are often laid at varying depths on both public and private property.

“Unsuspecting diggers can very quickly find themselves cutting essential services to their own home or in some cases to entire neighbourhoods, towns or cities.”

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director John Merritt said the guidelines would help reduce the risk of damaging incidents that could cause injury, or worse, fatalities.

Dial Before You Dig is a free referral service available to professional contractors, underground asset owners and individuals undertaking excavation. It provides information that can assist them excavate securely and safely.

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