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Safe digging practices (assured)


The purpose of this standard is to provide the delegate with the knowledge to support the following: interpret utility drawings plan to excavate prepare resources carry out the excavation use safe digging techniques identify the dangers and hazards associated with excavations.


1 day minimum of 6 learning hours


The purpose of this standard is to provide the delegate with the knowledge to support the following:


  • interpret utility drawings
  • plan to excavate
  • prepare resources
  • carry out the excavation
  • use safe digging techniques
  • identify the dangers and hazards associated with excavations

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational group(s):

  • operative
  • supervision

Delegates pre-requisites

There are no delegate pre-requisites as part of this standard.


As a minimum, course trainers must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • an award in education and training (or equivalent, as per requirements for approved training organisations)
  • successfully completed training to this standard
  • any standard specific training or professional membership
  • at least 2 years relevant industrial experience
  • a verifiable CV


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment. 

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for delegates to achieve learning outcomes and must comply with relevant legislation. 

The class size and delegate/trainer ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable delegates to achieve the learning outcomes.  

The following delivery methods may be used in the delivery of this standard: 

  • classroom
  • remote (theory only)
  • a blend of classroom and remote

This standard is considered to contain 51% or more theoretical learning.

This standard is considered to be set at a basic level.


Methods of assessment considered appropriate for training delivered against this standard are:  

For the successful completion of training, delegates must complete an end of course practical assessment or knowledge test that measures all learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria. 

Where this training is assessed using multiple-choice questions, a minimum of 10 questions must be asked and delegates are required to achieve an overall pass mark of at least 80%.

Quality assurance


Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard.  

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the training standard.  

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk-based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


Renewal every 3 years

Approval date

February 2021

Review cycle

On request or 3 years from approval date.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

The delegate will be able to:

Additional guidance to support learning outcome:

plan to excavate  

the delegate must be able demonstrate ability to plan the work activity, including: 

  • determine the work location using company documentation and work instructions 
  • comply with health, safety and environmental legislation and company policies and procedures  
  • know how to interpret drawings to identify overhead and underground services and apparatus 

prepare resources to carry out excavation 

the delegate must demonstrate the ability to: 

  • carry out a site-specific risk assessment  
  • identify and consider the type and proximity of overhead and underground services, using appropriate methods e.g. trial holes 
  • identify the required control measures to maintain a safe working environment  
  • confirm the position and size of the required excavation 
  • wear appropriate PPE 
  • determine suitable method of excavation  

carry out the excavation  


the delegate must demonstrate the ability to: 

  • use appropriate tools and equipment for the method of excavation 
  • excavate using hand tools and hand held power tools according to the safe systems of work and HSG47 guidance 
  • identify, select, segregate, store and remove materials in accordance with the work instructions and environmental requirements  
  • comply with site safety  
  • know how to carry out excavations in a manner that avoids damage to services and the natural environment 

understand and maintain the safety and integrity of excavations and services  


  • safe entry and exit to and from the excavation 
  • carry out all safety checks before entering an excavation  
  • hazards that could arise from working in excavations  
  • monitor and maintain position and condition of services to avoid damage or disturbances  
  • understand the expectations in the event, or in order to prevent an emergency  
  • the persons or organisations to be notified in the case of damage to services or other underground structures 

Additional information about this standard

HSG47 Avoiding Danger from Underground Services


HSG150 Health and Safety in Construction


Related standards

  • Locating utility services
  • Install, inspect and remove steel support systems
  • Install, inspect and remove timber support systems
  • Install, inspect and remove proprietary support systems


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