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Late last year Coates Hire commenced a partnership with Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) – an initiative designed to protect Australia’s valuable infrastructure assets and keep excavation workers safe. The national referral service safeguards approximately $340B in underground infrastructure and represents the majority of asset owners in Australia.

By connecting excavation and ground work project teams with information on what lies beneath the surface, Dial Before You Dig helps Australian asset owners to maintain the supply of vital infrastructure – like water, gas, electricity and telecommunications – to businesses and communities. This service also prevents costly repairs and litigation when damage occurs and helps to keep people safe – protecting excavator operators and bystanders from injury and even death.

The first partnership of this kind

Through a non-monetary partnership, Coates Hire will display Dial Before You Dig stickers and messaging across its earthworks fleet, in clear view of machinery operators. As a major supplier of excavation hire equipment to the construction industry, working with Coates Hire allows Dial Before You Dig to continue growing its membership and promoting safe excavation practices to a large and targeted audience across Australia.

According to Dial Before You Dig CEO, Stuart Burdack, the referral service is committed to working collaboratively across industry, and partnerships like this are essential for achieving this important remit. The Coates Hire partnership is the first of its kind with a hire company in Australia.

“Knowing that most damage happens through mechanical excavation, we had a strong interest in working with Coates Hire to get our damage prevention and safety messages out to machinery operators” says Burdack. “This approach is new ground for us all, but it makes a lot of sense”.

Promoting safe excavation

With a strong safety culture and a fleet of over 1,000 earthmoving equipment available for hire across Australia on any given day, championing safe digging practices and excavation safety is a good fit for Coates Hire too.

By increasing the awareness of safe excavation for machinery operators, much more can be done to prevent accidents and infrastructure damage from occurring. Working with Dial Before You Dig allows us to continue championing these causes and to make a real difference to safety in our industry.

A world-class approach

Burdack believes that Australia enjoys a “world best” system for promoting safe excavation, with use of the referral service growing 15% year on year. He also acknowledges that there is always more that can be done.

"We are issuing around 10.3 million information referrals on underground assets each year, but there is still damage occurring” says Burdack. “This remains a big issue for everyone.”

“We have a good system but what we all want is zero damage and zero harm, so we’ve still got a long way to go” he continues. "Getting the plans is the 1st step in a 5 step process that we recommend. We need our industry to remain focused and remember the damage prevention message and skills, and working with Coates Hire is a great way to reinforce that”.

The partnership began with a pilot program at our specialist earthworks branch at Dandenong, Victoria – the largest supplier of earth moving equipment in Melbourne. Following this trial we plan to extend the partnership to all branches in Australia. For more information on Dial Before You Dig, visit

How familiar are you with the safe excavation practices promoted by Dial Before You Dig? How do you manage excavation safety on your work sites? Please share your thoughts and comments via LinkedIn.


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