Posted on 20 March 2019

The hidden dangers of excavation


Our Vac-U-Digga trucks are equipped with safety measures.

In this article, we take a look at some of the risks and accidents that can occur in a variety of excavation projects and offer suggestions on how to mitigate such risks.

LinkedIn Icon
Facebook Icon

Line Strikes:

Arguably the most well-known and dangerous type of accident in the excavation world, line strikes refer to situations where a utility cable has been struck, hit, or scraped during an excavation. Accidents like this can result in fatalities and extensive site damage. Typical line strikes outcomes include electrocution, burns, site flooding if striking a water main, or fires and explosions if gas or electricity lines are struck. This typically occurs when site managers and operators have failed to correctly identify whether there are utilities buried under the excavation site and accurately identify their location prior to digging. However, line strikes can still occur with utility location data, where a strike can simply occur as a result of operator error or incorrect site marking.

An increasingly popular way to mitigate the risk of line strikes is to utilise non-destructive digging (NDD) methods like hydro excavation and vacuum excavation. NDD methods are inherently safer due to the absence of heavy excavator machinery. Where instead, NDD utilises mobile trucks with storage tanks and pressurised systems to break apart and collect soil around a utility rather than actually digging soil out with an excavator’s bucket or shovel. The soil around a utility is simply washed away, without the risk of an excavator bucket accidentally nudging, hitting, scraping, or striking a utility. 

The great thing about non-destructive digging is that as a result, utilities are safely exposed with elements like air and water which don’t offer the same force and pose no threat to strike, break, or knock a utility line.


Our team using appropriate fencing around an excavation site.

Falling Injuries:

You’d be surprised how many people accidentally fall into trenches, potholes and excavation sites, but it happens worldwide. A key way to mitigate the risk of this happening on sites locally has been to enforce various safety protocols that facilitate the installation of adequate signage or fencing around the site. Unsurprisingly, most companies across New Zealand have been doing this for a while.

Other Accidents:

Even the very best of us can find ourselves involved in an accident. Accidents often happen where safety procedures have been skipped, a machine breaks down during operation, or where an operator or labourer makes a mistake. Accidents can happen anywhere and the best way to mitigate such risks is to utilise modern safety practices along with regular machine evaluations and maintenance. Additionally, it’s important to monitor the capabilities and health of your employees, simple but fatal mistakes can often be the result of fatigue, dehydration, inadequate safety training, or insufficient planning.

Using vacuum excavation to mitigate excavation risks and costs.

Contact us on 0508 822 834 today!

How can we help?

We offer extensive non-destructive digging services to suit almost any project across New Zealand. If you have a project that requires services like hydro excavation, non-destructive digging or soil transfer, contact us today on 0508 822 834!

Contact Vac-U-Digga NZ today to arrange a personalised obligation-free quote.


Vac-U-Digga NZ is proud to be part of many Major civil  infrastructure projects across New Zealand.




10 Tenahaun Place, Wigram, Christchurch

© 2019 VAC Group NZ Pty Ltd        Designed by iSeekPlant