Every year thousands of people create a list of resolutions to improve their lives in one fashion or another. Some will choose to visit a new location, lose some weight or some other personal development goal. What we desire to change in our lives may vary from year to year but improving the vacuum tank safety we experience at work should be near the top of everyone’s list each January.
Industrial accidents are becoming an alarmingly regular part of life. People are seriously injured or lose their lives while simply performing their job. The horror in this situation is that we all can put ourselves in the shoes of the victims of these incidents.Recently another one of these stories emerged occurring in the north part of Wisconsin. There was a malfunctioning pump in a landfill where the drainage accumulated and entered the sewer. One of the owners went to investigate the problem and fix the pump that wasn’t working. His brother was with him and peered down the hole after him. Seeing him apparently struggling for his breath he went in to help him, then two more tried to help but they were all overcome by poisonous fumes and died. This could have been avoided by practicing proper vacuum tank safety.
This was tragic but totally preventable with a better training program for workers. All people working in confined space need to be aware of the dangers that can occur in an instant. There needed to be more awareness of what working in a tight space can be like. Having safety seminars at regular intervals can really make a difference in raising the awareness of vacuum tank safety and how to make sure that all employees will make it home to their families at the end of the day.
A larger company should have an active and competent safety manager whose job is to make sure that all employees are well trained in safety procedures and understanding all of the risks that exist when working in a restricted space. Having the knowledge of what to do in an emergency, should something bad happen, can save lives. Sometimes smaller organizations hold small meetings before they embark to the work site for the day. Sending workers to training sessions at led by professionals from the national trade association or state is another great way to increase awareness of vacuum tank safety.
Regardless of the direction of your safety program, it is vital that something is done to raise awareness of possible problems and to educate employees on how to be safe on the jobsite. Education and training can prevent anymore of these needless accidents from destroying communities or families in 2016.
Dangers of Extreme Suction
In Colorado there was another story that illustrates the danger that extreme suction can present to employees. Even the most cautious worker can be placed in harm’s way simply by doing their job. A man named Tom Lewis was the owner of Resource Geoscience, Inc. He was vacuum loading debris from the roof of a car wash when his vision was blurred by perspiration on his safety shield. The high pressure vacuum sucked off his glove and before he knew it his arm was covered by the vacuum hose. That was approximately 300 pounds of pressure.
Fortunately, Lewis was practicing vacuum tank safty plan in operation and a spotter was watching and able to have the vacuum shut down at the source. Lewis was injured but able to recover. That was a close call because if he had been by himself he might have ended up in serious trouble. Setting clear expectations of safety procedures and making sure they are followed every day will prevent many serious accidents and allow all employees to go home at the end of the day.