Hydroexcavation Company Doesn’t Scrimp on Safety

Canada’s Graham Utility keeps its crews focused on working safely, from the equipment used in the field to regular continuing education courses

Hydroexcavation Company Doesn’t Scrimp on Safety

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One goal Jordan Graham has for his company is to expand the knowledge of those who don’t know very much about vacuum excavation.

“Hydroexcavation is a great tool for safety and it’s only going to get better,” says Graham, owner of Ontario-based Graham Utility. “Knowledge has to be brought to these companies that are stuck in their ways and still digging open trench.”

While many people outside the industry view hydroexcavation as a big expense, Graham says that they need to realize the risks they are taking by not going with vacuum excavation.

“The hydroexcavation industry is only going to get bigger with all these utilities in the ground,” Graham says. “If you’re digging with an excavator near a 6-inch high-pressure gas line, is it worth putting that employee and everyone else on site at risk?”

Graham Utility is particularly mindful about finding ways to keep its employees and the general public safe. Using spinner tips on digging wands is one example. 

“We like to use those tips around any utility,” Graham says. “You decrease the chances of going through any type of utility by having these spinner tips. They’re great for the industry and that is why so many are using them.”

The company also uses three-prong straight-line tips and single-jet tips, but not around utilities. The straight-line tips shoot straight down with high pressure, while the spinner tips resemble an upside-down tornado when in use.

“The pressurized water is never staying in one spot, while the three-prong and single-jet tips are,” Graham says. 

The company is still exploring different manufacturers of spinner tips. Graham says they’ll try as many as they can in order to find one his crews trust.

Graham also emphasizes good safety practices at biyearly meetings where employees complete a hydroexcavation safety and awareness course. The company has the template for the course available anytime if a new employee is hired. 

“They’ll get a good idea of bonding mats and how to ground the truck and work in a safe and productive manner,” Graham says. “It’s our job to do the job safely and teach others how to do that as well.”

Read more about Graham Utility in the July 2018 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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