Alt image: Hydro excavation
Hydro excavation is a trenching technique involved in loosening the soil with a high-pressure water jet while simultaneously removing the soil with a high-power vacuum. This technique can be used in many projects and is considered more environment-friendly and cost-effective than other traditional excavation methods. While hydrovac is a low-impact excavation method, there are few health and safety risks like any other construction site. That’s why the workforce needs to use the appropriate equipment and develop a plan well before any trenching.
Other than this, working together to classify possible hydrovac risks and take hands-on measures to mitigate them is crucial.
Applications of Hydrovac Equipment
Any excavation job that would involve heavy-duty machines can be performed with hydro excavation technology. Some of the applications of excavation equipment include:
- Creating channels for pipeline
- Digging into frozen surfaces.
- Preparing commercial sites
- Relocating rocks and aggregates backhoe loader
- Installing road signs
- Uncovering sewer lines for repairs
Best Safety Practices For Hydro excavation
Below are some precautions you should take on a typical hydro-vac job site.
Hydrovac is a construction site excavating activity; there are possibilities of striking or damaging existing underground utilities. Some already existing utilities are telecom cables, sewer lines, natural gas lines, electricity lines. Damage to these lines can lead to an explosion, resulting in worker injury or death. Therefore, it is important to identify all buried utilities before working.
Proper Use of Signages
Using proper signage on hydro excavation sites involves placing relevant notices at workplace entrances and other areas they are likely to be seen. Proper signage alerts workers of potential hazards present in the area. Depending on the construction site, the sign should warn the workforce and public of various site hazards when passing or entering the site. Instruct everyone to wear personal protective equipment.
Ensure Workers Are Trained
Personnel working on hydroexacavtion projects should possess adequate training according to industry standards and recognized safe work practices. Workers should also be properly trained to use the equipment eh are operating. On hydro-vac job sites, the minimum recommended training are;
- OSHA training
- Fall protection
- Traffic protection
- Training to work in confined spaces
- First Aid
All in All
Hydrovac is a relatively safer trenching method; there still present several risks to on-site personnel and the general public. Some of the most pertinent risks associated with it include:
- Damage to pipeline coating
- Damage electric lines
- Operating the boom to close to overhead electrical facilities
These risks can be eliminated by observing the construction site first and taking all safety precautions. We hope the mentioned practices will help you and keep you safe in the hydro excavation world.