Don’t know, don’t dig!

A new video was launched in March to raise awareness about the hazards associated with working near underground assets, such as electricity and phone cables, gas lines and water pipes – and to encourage people to dial before they dig.

The video is a great example of business and government working together to prioritise safety in the workplace.

More than 100 incidents regarding underground assets were reported during 2015/16, and the strike rate is on the increase. Just 30 centimetres underground you can find cables, pipes and 132,000 volts of electricity. That’s enough to power up almost 10,000 homes. Striking these assets can cause explosions, floods or fires, with the potential for serious injury or even death.

And besides the personal risk, striking underground cables or pipes can affect thousands of people, including hospitals and people with lifesaving medical equipment in their homes.

Proper planning is essential when undertaking work around underground assets. In fact, it is a legislative requirement.

Sadly, our research indicates that of all the incidents that occurred in the last couple of years, 75 per cent failed to have proper plans in place.

The 4 P’s of planning

Basically, if you don’t know what’s under the ground, don’t dig!

But how do you know what’s under the ground? It’s simple. Just follow the 4 P’s of planning:
• plan
• pothole
• protect
• proceed

‘Dial Before You Dig’ is a free national service and one-stop-shop for information about underground assets on your site. They will contact the underground asset owners on your behalf and have the information back to you within two days.

Access the service by phoning 1100, by downloading the app or online at

You should also assess site conditions and ensure you have the right tools to carry out the work properly.

A non-intrusive and safe way to locate underground cables and pipes is by potholing – ie using high-pressure water or a shovel.

Safety is all about being in the know. If you don’t know, don’t dig!

To find out more, watch the video and visit our website.

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