Safety Tips for Vacuum Excavation Operation

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Safety Tips for Vacuum Excavation Operation

Unfortunately, despite all the available training and official guidelines set in place for vacuum excavation and HDD, accidents still occur. Being mindful of general hazards and the specific hazards of each job site is key to both efficiency and safety.

Safety Tips

  • Check that water pressure is not too high, in order to avoid damaging the underground utility being exposed. Monitor pressure gauges consistently throughout operation, and keep in mind that the type of nozzle used for excavation does impact the water pressure limit set by OSHA (straight-tipped hydroexcavation nozzles cannot exceed 2,500 psi, for example).
  • While occasionally vacuum machines may experience clogs or blockages during operation, never stick your arm up the suction tube to dislodge debris. Manufacturers, such as RAMVAC, offer a reversible blower which will dislodge debris in seconds and requires no additional effort from the operator. If your digging unit does not offer a reversible blower, shutting the machine off completely is recommended before attempting to remove any blockages.
  • Never leave your digging wand valve on when it is not in use. A safer option would be to use a trigger wand.
  • Make sure before digging that all crew members know their jobs. Being familiar with and knowing the hazards of a job site is key, as well as proper communication to enable teams to work effectively and safely.
  • While it is important to ensure the safety of operators, the public’s safety is just as vital. Set out safety cones to keep the public away from your dig site. High-visibility safety cones help deter pedestrians from wandering close to active job sites where they could fall into a hole or get in the way of operators. Traffic cones also help alert motorists to slow down and keep their distance when passing by job sites.

Ultimately, every operator is responsible for their own safety along with the safety of others during excavation or drilling procedures. And while mistakes and accidents are bound to happen, having the right machine and an understanding of OSHA regulations and basic safety can make all the difference. 

To learn more about the RAMVAC hydroexcavator series, visit Rental and used inventory are available through Rock Rental.


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