Vacuum Excavation Training Course

Conduct vacuum excavations


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to conduct vacuum excavations.

It applies to those working in operational roles in civil construction. They generally work under supervision and hold some responsibility for conducting vacuum excavations.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Key Points

Prepare for work

Complete on-site preparation and set up job

Undertake vacuum excavation job

Complete job

Foundation Skills required

This section describes those pre-requisite language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential to performance.


Identifies and interprets information from at times complex workplace procedures, documentation, legislation and regulations


Records simple and routine information relating to work activities

Course Outline

1. Prepare for work

1.1 Obtain, interpret and confirm work requirements

1.2 Access, interpret and apply vacuum excavation documentation and confirm work activity is compliant

1.3 Identify hazards, environmental issues, assess the risks and implement control measures in line with workplace policies

1.4 Identify and adhere to traffic management signage requirements

1.5 Select equipment and tools required for work activities and check for faults and report or rectify within scope of own role

1.6 Select and wear personal protective equipment required for work activities

1.7 Complete induction procedures as required by workplace policies and procedures and job role requirements

1.8 Identify and apply safety and environmental protection requirements

2. Complete on-site preparation and set up job

2.1 Check job scope, location and requirements with job owner and contact person as required

2.2 Obtain required permits and approval and check potential for ground contamination and nature of materials with landowner or job contact as required

2.3 Confirm waste management, disposal and tracking procedures required for material types are in place

2.4 Define work area, check exclusion zone, confirm trench shoring requirements and prepare worksite to comply with job and safety requirements

2.5 Implement protective screening or other methods as required of containing excavation debris

2.6 Inspect, assemble and check vacuum excavation equipment according to organisational requirements

2.7 Complete pre-operational procedures, pre-start and check emergency stop

2.8 Establish communication processes between operators and confirm correct positioning of personnel

3. Undertake vacuum excavation job

3.1 Start-up vacuum excavation system according to operating procedures

3.2 Operate equipment to meet job requirements and minimise direct contact of high pressure water on assets

3.3 Monitor hazards and activate emergency stop as required

3.4 Monitor job, conditions and equipment

3.5 Recognise and diagnose problems and report or rectify within scope of own role

4. Complete job

4.1 Shut down equipment according to operating procedures

4.2 Determine and implement disposal, recycling and waste removal documentation procedures required by material type and clear work area

4.3 Advise job owner and contact person of job completion and report any issues and incidents as required

4.4 Clean and maintain condition of equipment, confirm stability for use, and report issues as required or address within scope of own role

4.5 Check vehicle is clean and fit for transit

4.6 Refuel vehicle, refill with digging water as required and return to base

4.7 Complete required paperwork and process written records


Information Gathered from