Safety and Vacuum Truck Pumping!

Autos & TrucksTrucks

  • Author Christopher M. Hunter
  • Published November 22, 2011
  • Word count 652

For the last few years, there has been an increasing demand for transportation solutions and a revolution of the usage of vacuum trucks. Industries big and small alike have determined that this complex piece of equipment is worth purchasing as it meets an expectation for increased profitability. In spite of the power of this truck, those who operate it without knowing about safe pumping operations may cost a company an expenditure of both time and money. Proper knowledge about operational safety and procedures while pumping are essential to accomplish each task more efficiently. Listed below is some helpful information regarding safety in vacuum truck pumping operations.

Safe Operating Procedures

Although it is said that employers are responsible for providing appropriate training, instruction, and supervision to all workers, this is useless unless every worker has their own personal sense of safety. These following procedures are everyone’s concern and responsibility:

• Pre-work Meetings - Employers are usually responsible for conducting meetings at the beginning of each shift to discuss the hazards to be encountered at the job site. Adequate information should be provided about the risk of harmful and toxic gas during operations; instructions should also be included on what to do if exposed to a toxic gas release.

• Protective Equipment Training - Workers should be provided with proper personal protective apparatus as well as training on how to use this protective gear. Safety apparatus includes personal alarms, H2S, and respirators. All employees should receive an orientation about site-specific hazards.

• Work site and Equipment Inspection – It is imperative that inspections be conducted on both the job site and all of the equipment before starting any daily tasks. Monitoring air quality at the job site should be continuous and access to first aid should be readily available. Double check the instructions provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer to confirm that the truck is designed for the particular material being handled. Part of the daily inspection should ensure that every component of the vacuum truck, including the tank and pumping apparatus, is in good and safe working condition.

Proper Pumping for Septic Services

Septic services are one of the most common pumping tasks. It is important to know the step-by-step process involved in order to properly perform such services.

• Muck Rake - During a sludge removal operation, do not just set the hose inside the septic tank. Instead, first use the muck rake to stir the sludge on the tank bottom. Spending a few minutes stirring breaks up the sludge and greatly aids in making the material easier to pump.

• Vacuum Hose – The vacuum line or hose can be inserted when the muck rake is in place. The pumping operation can then be started. A worker should continuously move both the hose and muck rake during the operation to break up any material and mixing it with the waste water as this permits easy removal.

• Septic Tank - In the middle of the operation, or after several inches of waste water removal, the work should be paused or the machine even shut down and a few minutes taken to listen and determine if septic fluid is spilling back into the septic from the tank outlet line. A determination must then be made as to whether the drain field is saturated or faulty; if that is the case, it should be suggested to the homeowner that the system needs to be replaced.

• Plug - For plastic or fiberglass septic tanks, look for the side or bottom plug and be sure that it is still in place. If the plug is removed or lost during the suctioning operation, it should be replaced to avoid improper drainage to the surrounding area.

If utilized properly, this helpful, powerful machine will not only make every task easier; it will also protect the ground crew from any work hazards. Safety must be a prime consideration in all vacuum truck pumping operations!

Christopher M. Hunter is an expert in commercial specialty trucks. To find out more about Vacuum Truck Sales, go to the main website at:

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