Excavation Work Code of Practice - Australian Capital Territory


You may be required to comply with this code if you intend to operate a business involved in excavation work, including work done as an excavation contractor or as the manager or controller of a site at which excavation work is carried out. Excavation work means work involving the removal of soil or rock from a site to form an open face, hole or cavity using tools, machinery or explosives. If you intend to conduct a business or undertaking tasks that involve excavations at the workplace you must manage risks associated with all kinds of excavations, no matter how deep.

This Code of Practice is a Compliance Code. Compliance Codes are made to provide practical guidance to persons who have occupational health and safety duties or obligations. Compliance with this Code of Practice is not mandatory. Failure to comply with a Compliance Code does not give rise to civil or criminal liability. However, meeting the requirements of a Compliance Code means that you have fulfilled your occupational health and safety duties and obligations in relation to the matters covered by the Compliance Code.

The Code includes specific duties in relation to high-risk excavations. If you intend to conduct high risk excavation you will require a Safe Work Method Statement. High risk construction work includes any work connected with an excavation that is carried out in or near a shaft or trench with an excavation of depth of greater than 1.5 metres or, a tunnel.

Further information on standards with which persons involved in excavation work are required to comply can be found in the Construction Work Code of Practice.

Please consult the Contact Officer for more information and to ascertain the level of compliance (if any) that may be required.

Service type

Code of Practice

A code of practice is a set of rules which details how people in a certain industry should behave. A code of practice can be defined as a result of legislation or by industry regulators and bodies.

Ongoing eligibility requirements

In order to manage risk, you have a duty to:

  • identify reasonable foreseeable hazards that could give rise to risk
  • eliminate risks so far as reasonably practicable
  • if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk - minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by implementing control measures in accordance with the hierarchy of control
  • maintain the implemented control measures so that it remains effective
  • review, and if necessary revise, risk control measures so as to maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a work environment that is without risks to health and safety

Act(s) name

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 ACT

Regulation(s) name

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 ACT

Administering agency

Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Access Canberra

WorkSafe ACT

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

General Enquiries

WorkSafe ACT

Access Canberra

Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Phone: 02 6207 3000
Fax: 02 6205 0336