Within designated zones, vacuum excavation has proven to be a much safer alternative to hand-digging. Of course, this is only true when the law actually allows for vacuum excavation, as it is not a process that is completely legal to use anywhere. However, when applicable, there are clear advantages in safety when it comes to using vacuum excavation on jobsites.
Of course, there is an obvious variable here – and that’s the worker. It’s up to the operator to be knowledgeable about vacuum excavation as well as take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe jobsite to the best of his or her ability. This includes monitoring the pressure at which the machine is operating, so as to make sure that it is appropriate. This also includes monitoring the water pressure to ensure that the device is being safely utilized.
High-pressure water follows much more protocol than that, however. One obvious example is to keep the pressure wand, suction hose, or other tools away from body parts. This may seem like an extremely easy thing to do, but as we all know, it is often the minor adjustments and accidents that can lead to injury or death. Also, everyone should be wearing the appropriate clothing and gear for the jobsite, which, again, is a given, but should be noted. This often means donning a high visibility vest, a hardhat, and safety glasses with sideshield or faceshields. It’s also important to note that you may want to try to wear clothing that is more water-resistant, and that fit snugly, so that no clothing of yours gets entangled in any equipment.
It also must be stated that a rotating nozzle should always be used, and that the wand should never be motionless when operating a vacuum excavator. Although vacuum excavation is extremely non-invasive compared to many other methods, there are specific procedures that should be followed. Of course, one should never operate a vacuum excavator while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The bottom line is that vacuum excavation is a process that truly is an efficient process on a job site, especially when it comes to not interfering with fiberoptic cables, sewer utility lines, or other underground hazards. However, this does mean that the worker has to familiarize him or herself with the equipment, and inspect the jobsite properly.
Whether it’s using the right water volume, the right water pressure, or keeping the nozzle at the correct distance from the subsoil, there are all sorts of requirements when it comes to vacuum excavation. This is because while the technology is revolutionary, everybody recognizes that each process can potentially lead to damage or erosion of underground facilities. The last thing that anyone wants is to damage a utility pole because of a vacuum excavation. Regardless, one thing is obvious: the process certainly saves a lot of time and energy when it comes to commercial and residential projects. It’s wonderful to consider that we now have the technology to use air and water to remove debris. Vacuum excavation is clearly a process that many jobsites will be using for years to come.