The Event On June 28, 2007 a contract vacuum truck was

By Theresa Armstrong,2014-05-20 12:19
17 views 0
The Event On June 28, 2007 a contract vacuum truck was

     Safety Alert

    The Event: On June 28, 2007 a contract vacuum truck was participating in clean up operations at the Nexen Balzac Complex. Workers were sucking solid sulphur off the ground using 3” & 4” remote hoses. When the work was completed the vac truck operator proceeded to clean debris from a 6”

    valve on the vac truck tank. Using his gloved hand while the vac truck was still under vacuum the operator’s hand/arm was sucked into the 6” valve on the vacuum tank unit trapping him. The ESD for

    the tank could not be used as the valve would have closed on his arm. A co-worker heard the vac truck operator’s screams for assistance and he ran over to the unit to shut off the equipment and release the suction. The vac truck operator did not receive any injuries; however, this event very easily could have resulted in a severe injury.

    Limb Safety: Your hands allow you to perform a variety of tasks that makes

    you a skilled and valuable worker. Just imagine the difficulty life itself would

    be if you lost an arm or leg. The first step to “hand & arm” safety is

    preventing hand/arm injuries, be aware of the hazards! Hand/arm accidents

    are usually caused by boredom, inattentiveness or distractions in the

    workplace and by not thinking of what can go wrong before it goes wrong.

    Always remember to be alert and extra cautious when working with or in the

    area that have the following hazards; Pinch Points, Hot Spots, Rotating

    Machines, Automated Machinery, Loose Clothing.

    Vacuums are hazardous: Operators need to realize that vacuums (like pressure) can be very hazardous to life & limb.

Hose diameter is very important: Operators

    need to understand the importance of changing

    from one hose size to another and the impact of

    their decisions. Just how much impact can a slight

    change in hose diameter make? A 50 % change

    in hose size can change operating dynamics by as

    much as nine times.

    Emergency Shut Down: All DOT certified vacuum trucks and hydrovac units are equipped with 2 emergency shut down devices (ESD):

    1) A large labeled push button ESD switch on the driver’s side of the unit. Activation of this ESD

    will close all the valves to the vacuum tank releasing vacuum pressure from any hoses or

    fittings connected to vacuum tank. For the hydrovac units, the ESD closes the boom hose

    valve thus removing vacuum from dig tube suction line.

    2) All diesel vacuum truck and hydrovac units are equipped with a manual shut off (kill) switch

    located in the cab plus an RPM limiting shut off (positive air shut-off). All ESD devices related to a vacuum truck or a hydrovac truck should be outlined in the Nexen Worksite Hazards Assessment or a JSA for all personnel to be aware of when working around these units.

     Safety Alert

Points to Remember:

    ; The tank is a confined space! An operator may be handling hazardous materials. If he enters

    the tank to make a repair, he might be overcome by fumes. There is only one way in and one

    way out of the tank, so it is a confined space in the truest sense. Don’t enter a tank without the

    appropriate procedures, backup & PPE.

    ; Always ground the truck! Grounding is important for any product an operator uses. You might

    be sucking contaminated muds or hydrocarbons and static electricity could trigger an explosion.

    Air movers should never be used on anything being removed with a temperature flash point of o140F or less. This has been accepted as an industry standard.

    ; Driving Safety is always extremely important! Drivers need to be alert when driving any

    vehicle, especially a vac truck. A loaded vac truck takes longer to stop and get up to highway

    speed than other vehicles. Be aware of others in the plant as it can be congested. Never

    back up your vac truck without having constant visual contact with your spotter as they direct

    you, or get out of the cab and look over the situation before backing up.

    Please do not hesitate if you have any questions or concerns with this safety alert or any other health & safety issue.

Mike Rydl CRSP

    Senior Safety Coordinator

    Health Safety Environment & Social Responsibility

    Nexen, Balzac Complex

    T: 403-226-3130, C: 403-650-3538, F: 403-699-7808


    Safety. It's not just talk!

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email