Digging into a safer education for tradies

Paul Eyers
Paul Eyers

Tradies and apprentices are returning to the classroom to learn about digging risks as part of a new excavation education program. 

The groundbreaking course breaks ground on how to safely dig, excavate, or disturb earth – equipping those in the building industry with all the tools they need to stay safe on excavation jobs. 

Presented by Before You Dig Australia, the BYDA damage prevention team delivers more than 750 education sessions annually to more than 14,000 construction workers, tradies and apprentices. 

The free program, split into two 45-minute sessions, educates workers on how to mitigate and avoid potential damage and harm to ensure a safe excavation site. It is followed by a lesson on utility plan reading to teach tradies how to effectively interpret asset owners’ plans, legends, and symbols. 

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BYDA spokesperson Tania Nitschke says the free program was designed to dig up a safer approach to digging on Aussie worksites. 

“BYDA’s industry education program aims to equip civil construction and trade operators involved in digging, excavating, or any other ground-disturbing activity with the necessary knowledge to prevent costly damage to underground infrastructure, avoid injuries, and minimise service disruptions,” she says. 

“We explain the importance of safe digging, the role of BYDA, safe excavation recommended best practice, being aware and the importance of complying with asset-owner instructions, and the consequences of accidental damage.” 

“(Meanwhile) Being aware and understanding the complexities of utility plans can contribute to a smooth and safe excavation at your site.” 

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What are the risks of digging blind?

Commonly used by the civil contracting industry, councils, plumbers, landscapers, electricians, and telecommunication workers, Nitschke says Before You Dig Australia’s online education resources and in-person classes inform tradies about the services available for protecting their assets as well as themselves. 

“People can be hurt; imagine if you hit a high-pressure gas line, electrical cable, or even water,” she says.

“We had a recent case where the water cannoned out and injured someone.”

“But these incidents can be easily avoided by doing due diligence, getting your plans, and doing the correct preparations.”

Online tools help bury safety risks 

BYDA’s YouTube channel has a number of helpful educational videos too.

Who can book the free education seminars?

The sessions are available year-round and are open to any commercial or large-scale trade business, RTOs, or TAFEs involved in any aspect of ground-disturbing work or training, such as digging, excavating, drilling, boring, and trenching. 

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with a singular perspective on the world.