For the last few years, there has been an increasing demand for transportation solutions and a revolution of the usage of vacuum trucks. Industries big and small alike have determined that this complex piece of equipment is worth purchasing as it meets an expectation for increased profitability. In spite of the power of this truck, those who operate it without knowing about safe pumping operations may cost a company an expenditure of both time and money. Proper knowledge about operational safety and procedures while pumping are essential to accomplish each task more efficiently. Listed below is some helpful information regarding safety in vacuum truck pumping operations.
Safe Operating Procedures
Although it is said that employers are responsible for providing appropriate training, instruction, and supervision to all workers, this is useless unless every worker has their own personal sense of safety. These following procedures are everyone’s concern and responsibility:
• Pre-work Meetings - Employers are usually responsible for conducting meetings at the beginning of each shift to discuss the hazards to be encountered at the job site. Adequate information should be provided about the risk of harmful and toxic gas during operations; instructions should also be included on what to do if exposed to a toxic gas release.
• Protective Equipment Training - Workers should be provided with proper personal protective apparatus as well as training on how to use this protective gear. Safety apparatus includes personal alarms, H2S, and respirators. All employees should receive an orientation about site-specific hazards.
• Work site and Equipment Inspection – It is imperative that inspections be conducted on both the job site and all of the equipment before starting any daily tasks. Monitoring air quality at the job site should be continuous and access to first aid should be readily available. Double check the instructions provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer to confirm that the truck is designed for the particular material being handled. Part of the daily inspection should ensure that every component of the vacuum truck, including the tank and pumping apparatus, is in good and safe working condition.
Proper Pumping for Septic Services
Septic services are one of the most common pumping tasks. It is important to know the step-by-step process involved in order to properly perform such services.
• Muck Rake - During a sludge removal operation, do not just set the hose inside the septic tank. Instead, first use the muck rake to stir the sludge on the tank bottom. Spending a few minutes stirring breaks up the sludge and greatly aids in making the material easier to pump.
• Vacuum Hose – The vacuum line or hose can be inserted when the muck rake is in place. The pumping operation can then be started. A worker should continuously move both the hose and muck rake during the operation to break up any material and mixing it with the waste water as this permits easy removal.
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