In recent years, asset owning members of Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) voiced their concerns with what they perceived as the inconsistency associated with the provision of locating services. DBYD have worked with the National Utility Locating Contractors Association, members of the construction industry and asset owners to develop a national locator certification program.
Following a successful pilot program which commenced in the second half of 2015, DBYD Certification Ltd was set up in April 2017 to take over and manage the national DBYD Locator Certification program. The Certification recognises locators who have demonstrated a high level of understanding and practical expertise. The assessment is a three-step process which includes an online theory examination and an on-site practical assessment. The assessment also includes auditing equipment for compliance and the ability of the user to competently use it as well as safe workplace practices. To date some 600 locators have been successfully certified across Australia. To find either information on the program or a list of Certified Locators near you visit www.dbydlocator.com.
The certification program is one element of establishing safe excavation practices. Dial Before You Dig acknowledges the importance of AS 5488 which provides a framework for the classification of subsurface utility location and attributes information in terms of specified quality levels. A Quality level describes the amount and accuracy of information that is collected or held on a subsurface utility. There are four Quality levels – D, C, B and A and the higher the Quality level, the more information is known about the subsurface utility and the more accurate that information is.
DBYD also recommends that anyone undertaking excavation follows the 5Ps of Safe Excavation
Plan ahead by lodging your Dial Before You Dig enquiry at least two business days before starting any excavation to ensure you have the correct information and safety measures in place. (AS 5488 Quality Level D).
Prepare by reviewing the utility plans and contactng the utility if you need assistance. Look for onsite assets and infrastructure clues such as pit lids, marker posts and meters. Engage a DBYD Certified Locator which includes undertaking electronic location (AS 5488 Quality Level B) prior to potholing.
To establish the exact location of all underground infrastructure(s), pothole if permitted using the Asset Owner’s stated method as specified on the Asset Owner’s plan and/or information pack. (AS 5488 Quality Level A).
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 by using visual alerts/indicators.
You should only proceed with your excavation work after you have planned, potholed (unless prohibited) and have protective measures in place.
Why you should use a DBYD Certified Locator
Locators with DBYD Locator Certification have a nationally recognised industry certificate that distinguishes them from ‘DIY’ or self-authorised locators. With DBYD Certification there is no need to guess whether the locator you are hiring is competent. Hiring locators that are not DBYD certified may be putting your business and the community at risk.
Robert Row is Managing Director of DBYD Certification. He is also Deputy Chair of Dial Before You Dig (QLD) Ltd where he has served for over ten years.
Paul Newman is General Manager of Dial Before You Dig Queensland. Paul spent 23 years working for Australia’s largest telecommunications carrier (Telecom/Telstra).