Your safety is our 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. Below is a basic outline of measures to be taken:

Before you dig

Always lodge a free BYD enquiry at least one business day before starting your project to ensure you have access to the information that will help you avoid damage to underground networks.

Once all plans have been received from the affected asset owners, study the plans and information thoroughly to ensure there is an understanding of what is required.

Consider hiring a skilled locator or one recommended by the asset owner if there are infrastructure assets in the vicinity of your dig site, but you cannot locate them.

Safety plans should be developed for your 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 dig site

At your dig site, use plans and conduct a visual inspection to gather site information. This may include hazards, soil conditions, trenches, pits, bores, standing water and potentially any dangerous physical obstructions that may impact the safety of employees and the community.

Employees and subcontractors working on site must be trained and briefed on all safety measures to avoid unnecessary risks. If working in a confined space, some asset owners have restrictions on entering confined spaces and have specific health and safety induction and training requirements. Please refer to the information and plans provided by the asset owner for further clarification.

If the scope of your work changes or the validity date of plans expire, a new BYDA enquiry must be submitted.

When locating assets

Plans provided by the asset owner only indicate the presence of infrastructure assets within the vicinity of the project site; they do not pinpoint the exact location.

Unfortunately, not all of Australia’s infrastructure asset owners are BYDA Members and assumptions should not be made that the plans received represent the only infrastructure assets affected by your project site.

Following the Five Ps of safe excavation guidelines can ensure the right steps are taken.

The five Ps of safe excavation


Plan ahead by lodging your BYD enquiry at least one business day before your project begins, and ensure you have the correct information required to carry out a safe project.


Prepare 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 DBYD skilled locator who can assist you in locating assets electronically before potholing.


Pothole, if permitted, using the asset owner’s stated method as specified on the plans and information pack. Some potholing methods include hand digging or hydro vacuum extraction.


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.


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 assets have been damaged and any exposed underground assets uncovered by any excavation has been filled back in.

What to do in an emergency

BYDA is not an emergency service. In a life-threatening situation, please call 000. If there is no threat to life, you can report damage to the asset owner directly via the Emergency Contacts.

Download a copy of our ‘How to Get Free Plans’ brochure here.

Download a copy of our Best Practice Guide here.