5 Safety Protocols You Need to Follow When Working With a Vacuum Truck

An employee putting on a hard hat before going to work with vacuum tank trucks

Vacuum tank trucks, while they are extremely useful in construction projects and other businesses, are still pieces of heavy machinery and should be treated with the respect that they deserve. If you don’t follow the proper safety protocols, vacuum trucks can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true for vacuum trucks that can be used for excavation or other heavy duty work.

If you own any kind of business that uses vacuum tank trucks, you need to be well-versed in the different safety protocols that should be followed when doing work with these heavy machines. If you aren’t careful, negligence can lead to a disastrous consequence. Even the most well-built vacuum trucks, like the ones we have at Flowmark, can’t prevent accidents if safety procedures aren’t followed.

If you regularly use vacuum trucks in your business, and aren’t familiar with the safety protocols, here are some you should keep in mind:


1. Have a Way to Escape During Excavations

Several types of vacuum trucks, like the Hydro vac vacuum truck, can be used in excavation. While using vacuum tank trucks for excavation is generally safer than using heavy machinery, it still comes with its own set of risks.

One common type of excavation is to dig ditches or trenches. Depending on what needs to be placed there, those dishes or trenches can be extremely deep and difficult to escape from. For example, utility lines and sewer lines have to be buried a certain amount of feet under the ground in order for them to be protected from natural disasters or weather disasters. Because of this, escaping from the trenches should a cave-in occur, is vital for the health and safety of the workers at the excavation site.

To best protect your workers, it is required that if a trench is 4 feet deep, you must  have an easily accessible escape route no more than 25 feet away from any workers at all times. This is because should a cave-in occur, the workers have an easily accessible route to run as quickly as they possibly can to get out of the trench. This prevents unnecessary injury, or even death should a cave-in occur.


2. Put a Warning System in Place Near Excavation Sites

A common issue near excavation sites is the heavy machinery, not being able to see the edge of the trench or excavation area. This may be because the earth that’s being excavated is the same color as the surrounding area, that the cab of the excavation truck is simply too high to get a good picture of the trench, or a plethora of other reasons. The issue, though, is driving these heavy pieces of machinery near trenches that they may or may not be able to see. That could lead to disaster.

A solution to this is to make sure to clearly mark the boundaries of the trench or digging site. This can be with cones, it can be with lights, or whatever kind of solution that your company may come up with. It’s whatever works best for you. The most important part, is to simply make sure that the area is safe and no vacuum trucks or other heavy machinery accidentally fall into the digging site because they can’t see where the digging site begins.


3. Employees Need to Have Protection from Falling Debris

Just like any other construction site, you need to ensure that all of your employees have proper protection against unexpected accidents. When you’re using vacuum tank trucks for excavation, you need to treat it like any other excavation site. Give the employees proper protection against potential falling debris in the form of hardhat, high protection, gloves, etc., worst case scenario is that these protective measures aren’t needed. Best case scenario is that these protections save somebody’s life.

A vacuum truck servicing a job site

4. Conduct Regular Inspections

No matter how modern or well-built your vacuum truck for sale is, you still need to make sure that you are doing regular maintenance and inspections. If you don’t conduct regular inspections and regular safety and security checks, you won’t be able to spot a potential problem until it’s too late.

Choose a regular time to conduct your inspections: whether that be every month, every quarter, or every year, having a routine inspections schedule will prevent any accidents from happening unexpectedly.


5. Make Sure All Employees are Well-Trained

There is nothing more dangerous than an employee who doesn’t understand the equipment that they’re using. They can put not only themselves, but also everyone else around them in danger by not following proper protocols. And while it would be from ignorance, it could still potentially cause anything from injury to loss of life. 

Before any of your employees use any vacuum tank trucks or other heavy machinery, you must ensure that they’re properly trained. Post an employee training course or an employee training day. Encourage your employees to let other employees know if they see them doing anything incorrectly. While this may seem overbearing, this could be one of the only ways to prevent a major disaster.


Staying Safe When Using Vacuum Tank Trucks

No matter what industry you’re involved in, staying safe is the most important aspect of it. For those workers who operate heavy machinery, like vacuum tank trucks, the importance of safety is magnified; practicing proper safety protocols could be the difference between life and death.

Here at Flowmark’s, we don’t take that lightly. Our vacuum trucks for sale are all American made, and created with the highest quality equipment and a strong attention to detail. While we can’t prevent accidents from happening, you can rest assured that if you purchase a vacuum truck from Flowmark’s, you’re getting the best on the market.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of our vacuum trucks for sale, contact us here at Flowmark today for more information.