Before you dig

Whenever you start digging, there’s a risk you’ll come across underground electric lines. Make sure you check for lines before you dig and follow safe work practices.

Before work commences

Before you dig, you should check the site for underground powerlines by obtaining an underground site plan.

Obtain underground site plans

Request underground plans of your site using the free Before You Dig Australia service.

If underground powerlines are present, you can:

IMPORTANT: You can find detailed information about your safety responsibilities around underground powerlines in Working near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines (PDF 1002.3 kb)

Engaging a contractor for high risk work

If you’re a person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace, you’re legally required to take reasonable steps to make sure that no person, plant or thing at the workplace comes within an unsafe distance of an underground electric powerline. You need to make sure all risks are assessed by your designer or contractor.

Work near energised electrical assets is considered high risk. Activities that can increase the risk include:

  • entry into the powerline backfill below the protective cover strips, bricks or equivalent (typically installed approximately 100mm above cables)
  • removal of flowable fill backfill
  • excavation beneath the underground powerline.

If you’re doing any of these activities, we recommend you engage an Ergon Network rated Transmission Civil Contractor to carry out work and/or help to assess risks and develop safe work methods through our Electrical Partners Portal. There is a fee for this service.

IMPORTANT: All works need to consider the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 for Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines.

Need more information?


If you have more questions, you might find answers in our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 124.2 kb).

Safety fact sheets

Refer to these fact sheets for more information about how to work safely near underground powerlines.

To order factsheets in industry packs, use our brochure & sticker order form.

Other information

Links to other good sources of information.