Dial Before You Dig fear potential deaths and injuries as the massive slate of state and national infrastructure projects worth 100s of billions of dollars are rolled out, and is running a national and state-by-state crusade to make underground checking mandatory.
NSW is only state to make underground checks compulsory despite the significant risk of death and injury. The legislation was introduced on the back of serious disruption to services impacting 70,000 homes and businesses when a dig went wrong, but Dial Before You Dig Vic/Tas CEO, Ben Howell, is concerned that with the raft of projects coming onstream, underground digging errors will lead to fatalities.
Mr Howell says he doesn’t want a workplace death to be the catalyst for the Victorian Government to act.
‘We’ve had four gas pipes struck in Melbourne in the last 2 months, and a serious injury to a young worker at Berwick Primary School in April after he hit a pipe and set off an explosion. It was fortunate no kids were around at the time.’
In 2017, the Grimes Report into Victoria’s gas and electricity network suggested that the Victorian government make underground digging compulsory to avoid serious injury or death. And while the Victorian Government supported the findings in principle, it is still yet to act despite $44bn worth of infrastructure projects being rolled out across Victoria.
‘The government is playing with fire by pressing ahead with these projects without making underground digging compulsory,’ said Mr Howell.
‘They need to enact the recommendations of the Grimes Report of 2017 and make the Dial Before You Dig service compulsory.’