EDITORIAL TAKEN FROM THE DRAIN TRADER MAGAZINE (AUGUST 2018 EDITION)
Effective training is the best way to keep operational teams pushing forward with best practice in drainage management, says the Water Jetting Association.
Contractors that do not have a structured process in place to teach and refresh key skills and knowledge risk taking their teams back to the 80's, warned the association's director David Kennedy.
He added: 'Many contractors now have excellent policies and procedures for assessing skills and setting uniform standards across their operational teams.
'Complacency, though, is one of the biggest risks the drainage industry faces. There is always a danger of firms suffering a back to the future moment which finds them back in the 1980's.
Those were the times when drainage operatives were sent down a four metre deep chamber with a bucket and a spade to clear the debris with little or no safety equipment. It was the Health & Safety equivalent of cowboy country.
'Putting in place proven, accredited training, that sets a benchmark for what is expected of drainage operatives, and challenges knowledge, practical expertise and behavior, helps keep us moving forward.
'What the best drainage contractors want is their teams em,bracing the best new practices in the 21st Century, not behaving as if we all still have mullets, and think confined space training is for driving an old style Mini Cooper.
The Water Jetting Association offers City & Guilds Accredited training for the safe and skilled use of water jetting equipment, including high pressure (140 bar) up to ultra high pressure (3000bar) to industry recognised Codes of Practice.
All the training is delivered by Approved WJA Training Instructors, who keep their own knowledge and expertise right up to date, so delegates benefit from the latest insights on industry best practice.
David Kennedy said: 'There is always a danger that we think we know it all. Refresher training is one way to challenge complacency'.
Quite a few experienced drainage operatives are surprised to hear that as little as 40 psi can pierce the eye and cause serious injury , even blindness. Water jets at 100 psi can pierce the skin. At 5,000psi, water leaves the end of a drainage hose at 550 miles per hour. Entry wounds for water jet injuries can be very small, but the internal damage caused can be vast.
Water Jetting Training is the opportunity for a drainage contractor to reinforce company policy and pass on knowledge that is critical for everyday aspects of their team's work.
David Kennedy said the WJA's training is designed to provide vital practical knowledge, for example drainage configuration and drainage law.
He added; 'Understanding drainage configuration is essential to avoid blow-backs and control of the jetting hoses, for example preventing them entering laterals.
'Having a good basic understanding of drainage law can prevent a private contractor from working on a public sewer, potentially incurring significant costs as a result.
Drainage operatives are setting standards on behalf of their companies.
If an incident does occur one of the first questions the Health and Safety Executive will ask is:
'Has this person been trained, and against what standard?'
'Thats a scary question if the answer is: No and None'!!