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Important safety actions when working with pipe cleaning

Important safety actions when working with pipe cleaning

When performing pipe cleaning there are risks that need to be considered and safety actions taken. Throughout the years in the business (going back to the 1960s) we have been told many scary stories of incidences.

1999 a young operator was killed in US when cleaning nozzle turned in pipe and came rushing up the downstream and out of the manhole and struck the operator and resulted in his death.

In Sweden two operators had finished cutting roots in pipe and was going to flush out the remaining roots. The cleaning nozzle was not pushed far enough into the pipe before the high-pressure pump was activated, resulting in nozzle turning and hitting the operators, one in the stomach and the other one on the jaw. The hose and nozzle were flying around before the shocked operators finally were able to press the emergency button. Booth operators described the incident “like hell broke loose” and resulted in long sick leaves and anxiety for a long period returning to their job.

In Illinois an operator who was not paying attention as he was pulling back a nozzle, did not notice the leader hose had entered the manhole and continued pulling back when the nozzle came flying out the manhole. As it shot past his face it knocked off the hat he was wearing. He was able to hit the emergency stop. If it would have been a 1-2” closer it would have struck him in the face, which would have resulted in a more tragic result.

In Norway a five-year-old boy feel into an open manhole, when the operators of the jetting truck for a moment was inattentive.

Important safety measures to prevent the above:

• Make sure the nozzle can not turn in pipe. Either by mounting the nozzle in a sled (large enough to prevent nozzle from turning) or use an extender pipe (safety pipe). The safety pipe should be mounted between the end of the jetting hose and the nozzle, extending the firm part.

• Always make sure the nozzles are well pushed into to pipe before activating the high-pressure pump. When activating the pump, the system retracts the hose, which can cause nozzle being pulled out from invert and back into the manhole.
• Make sure all jet inserts are not worn or clogged. A worn or clogged jet change the balance of the nozzle and will push nozzle to side. This might cause nozzle to turn.

• Use a child safe roller guide. This prevents people from falling into the well. At the same time this will give the operators a few more seconds if nozzle turn in pipe.
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