Big Issue for Excavation Safety in Australia
25 September, 2018
Safety was the key focus at 2018’s inaugural Oceania Damage Prevention Conference. Dial Before You Dig, Australia’s free national referral service, has over 800 asset owners as members, with a combined 740,000km of underground infrastructure. The value of these assets is in excess of $340 billion, at an average cost of $459 per metre of fibre/pipe/cable.
Yet some utilities are spending less than 50 cents a metre to prevent these assets from being hit by third parties! Over 50% of the damage is caused by poor excavation practices. At the very least, hitting buried utilities causes inconvenience and expense. At worst, it can cause catastrophic loss of life and property.
In Australia at this stage we do not collate the number or the cost of these damages. In the US they do though and publish them in their annual DIRT report. In 2016, an estimated 379,000 underground utility damages occurred in the US. The societal costs associated with these underground facility damages were estimated at $1.5 billion. This is a minimum estimate based on routine costs for stakeholders directly connected to a damaged facility. It does not however, include costs such as property damage, evacuations, road closures, environmental impacts, lawsuits, injuries or fatalities.
To find out more about excavation safety and possible solutions for your next project, contact Ed George, Technical Manager at Tapex DigSAFE.