September 17, 2019
What are Safe Site Practices and are YOU Aware of them?

At Dial Before You Dig, safety of those working around infrastructure assets and the community is of high priority. At every stage of the project, there are measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those involved in the project and others.

A basic outline of tips and information can be taken to ensure a safe site practice. To find out more useful tips and information, come see Dial Before You Dig at the APGA Conference in Adelaide (12th – 15th October 2019) at Stand 20. Or visit www.1100.com.au to find out more.

 Safety Practices

At Dial Before You Dig (DBYD), the safety of those working around infrastructure assets and the community is of high priority. At every stage of the project, there are measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those directly involved in the project and the community.

Below is a basic outline of measures to be taken:

Before Starting  

Safe excavation begins with lodging a FREE Dial Before You Dig enquiry at least one business day prior to starting your project. Having the correct information and knowledge will assist greatly in avoiding damages to affected infrastructure assets.

Plans DO NOT come from Dial Before You Dig but are sent directly to the enquirer from the infrastructure asset owner, which may take up to two business days. Once all plans have been received from the affected asset owners as indicated by the DBYD Confirmation Sheet, study the plans and information thoroughly to ensure there is an understanding of what is required.

Consider hiring a DBYD Certified Locator or one recommended by the asset owner if you believe there are infrastructure assets within the vicinity of your project site but cannot locate them.

Safety measures should be developed for the project site that include procedures employees should follow in the event of an emergency and the location of the nearest hospital, the fire department, police department, and other relevant emergency response organisations.

At the Project Site

Remember to consider all information provided by asset owners and not just the plans. Duty of Care statements provided along with plans may provide additional instructions on working safely, permit information, clearance distances and contact details so you can obtain further assistance.

If the scope of your work changes or the validity date(s) of plan(s) expire, a new Dial Before You Dig enquiry must be submitted.

When Locating Assets

Plans provided by asset owner(s) only indicate the presence of assets and DO NOT pinpoint the exact location.

Unfortunately, not all of Australia’s asset owners are Members of Dial Before You Dig and assumptions SHOULD NOT be made that the plans received represent the only assets affected by the project.

Anyone who intends to undertake works associated with utility assets should make themselves familiar with the Australian Standard 5488 (Classification of Subsurface Utility Information) prior to any excavation activities.

The 5Ps of Safe Site Practices 

Following the Five Ps of Safe Excavation guidelines can ensure the right steps are taken.

Plan

Plan by lodging your Dial Before You Dig enquiry at least one business day before starting any excavation to ensure you have the correct information and safety measures in place.

Prepare

Prepare by reviewing the utility plans and contacting the utility if you need assistance. Look for on site asset and infrastructure clues such as pit lids, marker posts and meters. Engage a DBYD Certified Locator which includes undertaking electronic location prior to potholing.

Pothole

To establish the exact location of all underground infrastructure(s), pothole if permitted using the asset owner’s stated method as specified on the asset owner’s plan and / or information pack.

Protect

If potholing has occurred, protect the infrastructure by using various methods; such as communicating to all working on site, erecting barriers and / or marking the location of the exposed infrastructure.

Proceed

You should only proceed with your excavation work after you have planned, prepared, potholed (unless prohibited) and have protective measures in place.

When You Have Finished

Once the project is complete, ensure no infrastructure asset(s) have been damaged and any exposed underground asset(s) uncovered by any excavation has been filled back in.

If damage has occurred to any infrastructure asset at any time, notify the affected asset owner immediately by using the contact details on the Dial Before You Dig cover sheet or via the Find Local Emergency Contacts. If the situation is life threatening, please contact the Emergency Services on 000.

To find out more useful tips and information, come see Dial Before You Dig at the No Dig Down Under Conference in Melbourne (10th – 13th September 2019) at Stand 26.

This article was published in Trenchless Australasia September 2019 – Outlining Safe Site Practices.

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