Dial before you dig
Whenever you start digging, there’s a risk you’ll come across underground electric lines. Make sure you dial before you dig and follow safe work practices.
Before work commences
Before you dig, you should check the site for underground powerlines with a voltage of 33kV or higher. To do this, take the following steps:
Step 1 - Request underground site plans
Request underground plans of your site using the free Dial Before You Dig service.
If powerlines 33kV or higher are present, go on to Step 2.
If powerlines less than 33kV are present, you can:
- Complete your works design in accordance with section 4.2.3 of Working near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines (WP1323), (PDF 765.3 kb)with or without the help of an accredited consultant
- Ask us to relocate underground powerlines, if necessary, through our Electrical Partners Portal. There is a fee for this service.
Step 2 - Request detailed powerline plans
Submit a Request for detailed plans of the underground powerlines from us.
Step 3 - Submit your preliminary works plans
Submit a Preliminary works plans assessment request to us for our consideration.
Your proposal will need to comply with the guidelines for working safely near underground electric lines (PDF 765.3 kb).
If we accept your preliminary plans, you can begin work.
If we decide the plans need further work, go to Step 4.
Step 4 - Submit your detailed works plans
Submit a Detailed works plans review request for our consideration
IMPORTANT: You can find detailed information about each of these steps and your safety responsibilities around underground powerlines in Working near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines (PDF 765.3 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.
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.
- Agriculture industry (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Cane industry (PDF 2.0 mb)
- Cotton industry (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Trucking industry (PDF 1.4 mb)
- Building and Construction industries (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Plumbers (PDF 1.3 mb)
To order factsheets in industry packs, use our brochure & sticker order form.
Links to other good sources of information.