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The Jetters Edge's guide to high pressure water jetter safety procedures

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The Jetters Edge's  guide to high pressure water jetter safety advises that before commencing any high pressure water jetting operations steps should be taken to ensure that all hazards likely to affect the safety of the operator or persons working in the vicinity of the water jetter are eliminated or minimized.

Initial setup:

  • Safety Signs/Barricades
  • Where possible all persons other than the operator should be excluded from the work area.
  • Ensure the operator is in a safe and well balanced position prior to operating equipment and that the area is kept clear of loose items and debris to prevent tripping and slipping hazards.
  • Ensure any equipment particularly electrical is isolated and protected from ingress of water or overspray.
  • Wear suitable Eye protection.
  • Wear suitable Clothing protection, i.e. Gloves, Footwear, Overalls
  • Wear suitable Respiratory protection particularly if enclosed and exposed to drifting mist that may contain bacteria.
  • Decontamination of work area and disposal of hazardous/toxic products encountered (i.e. Effluent, Drain Acids, Grease etc).
  • All hoses should be protected at all times from being run over and crushed by vehicles

Jetting operations are to cease operation:

  • Should an unauthorized or inadequately protected person enter the work area.
  • Immediately after a malfunction occurs.

Maintenance and routine inspection of equipment

  • Operator is not to use equipment unless they are satisfied that it has been inspected and serviced in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations and that it is free from any faults.
  • Operators are to report any defect in the system to their supervisor so that the defect may be investigated and rectified. (Just because you know it exists does not mean the after hours operator knows!) Defective items are to be marked defective and removed from service. Note: Only proper service tools are to be used on couplings and fittings to avoid damage.

Daily pre operational checks to be conducted

  • Lubricating oil, water, hydraulic fluid and fuel levels in the drive unit and the pump unit. Condition of guards, shields and safety interlocks.
  • Filters and strainers.
  • Engine stop devices clearly labelled and working. Check all throttle cables.

Before each use of the equipment

  • All hose assemblies are to be visually inspected prior to each use to ensure that the correct pressure rating and size is selected.
  • Ensure there is no apparent structural damage, eg corroded or broken wires, bulging, kinking or cuts.
  • Check all end fittings and couplings are in good order and of the correct pressure rating for the unit.
  • All jetting nozzles should be kept clean and stored safely. Ensure that outlets are not damaged or obstructed.

Systems are to be depressurised when:

  • Not in use and left unattended or
  • Replacement of components or repairs are being made to the system.

End identification

  • Operators should ensure hoses are conspicuously marked at a nominal distance of 60cm (24") from the nozzle to indicate the location of the nozzle.

Medical considerations

  • All accidents or injuries, whether resulting in lost time or no lost time should be recorded, also near misses should be recorded so that any potential problems can be identified and measures implemented to minimize or eliminate these potential hazards.
  • In the event that a person is injured by the impact of a water jet, the injury may appear insignificant and give little indication of the extent of the injury beneath the skin and the damage to deeper tissues. Although only a small hole may be present, quantities of water may have penetrated the skin and entered the flesh and organs causing serious injury.
  • If an accident occurs where pressurized water penetrates or appears to have penetrated the skin, medical assistance should be sought immediately.

Medical alert card

  • All operators engaged in water jetting operations are to carry an immediately accessible, waterproof medical alert card.
  • This card should; Outline the possible nature of injuries and post-accident infections that can be caused by high pressure water jetting; Provide details of immediate first-aid treatment until medical treatment can be arranged and Provide the name or names of medicos (and contact phone numbers) who should be contacted for expert medical advice for the treatment of high pressure water jetting injuries. 
  • The Jetters Edge sells a Medical Alert Capsule in the form of a sealed stainless steel key ring.

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