Tips on Operating Vacuum Excavators


Vacuum excavation units resolve utility conflicts through the use of proper equipment and personnel. Vacuum excavators are reputed for underground constructions and are a safer alternative for unearthing buried utilities.

Also termed as soft excavation, the technique uses line marking to eliminate the probability of utility strikes. Now, convenience comes when workers abide by specific guidelines for ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Safety at the Site

Vacuum excavators find their application in a range of environments and applications, and it is imperative to adhere to all the local guidelines.

Protective Equipment for All Personnel

Regardless of air or hydro excavation, PPE requirements are crucial while dealing with vacuum excavators. Based on the environment, operators need to wear proper boots, gloves, eye protection gear, earplugs, hardhat, and reflective clothing. Avoid loose clothing while near a suction hose, and dialectic boots are a must while handling live electrical lines.

Understand the Surroundings

It is vital to have first-hand information about underground services within the area of work. Utility records can be checked for known services followed by adept ground surveys. Findings from the survey will help recognise the depth, type, and nature of all the utilities below. These services can get exposed due to various factors like ground movement.

In this scenario, communication channels with utility owners must open up for compliance guarantees and necessary actions during emergencies. It is also crucial for vac operators to recognise in-the-air or above-obstacles that threaten the smooth flow operations. Safety cones and signage come handy while working alongside busy sidewalks and roadways.

Marking of Site Plans

Upon clear identification of utilities with the site survey, line marking can help highlight the identified service routes. As a facility owner, marking the appropriate positions of underground utilities needs to be done using the recommended best practices. Nonetheless, the excavation area also needs clear labelling, and mechanical excavation must be avoided within a safe distance from a previously located live service.

Safety During Travel – Strategic Travel Time

The journey time to and from the excavation site must be well-planned. The operator/driver must not be rushed to exceed the speed limits or take on the road risks. You can even make pre-journey checks that the vehicle is indeed safe to take on the road.

Regardless of a truck-mounted, trailer-mounted, or PTO truck vacuum excavator, operators must know about the state and local rules of transport. As such, consider load restrictions, and carry the appropriate permits and licenses at all times.

Reassuring the Safety of Trailer Hookups

It is vital to verify the trailer lights for proper functioning, and the trailer must be well-secured to the truck. Ensure to cross the safety chains under the hitch and attach it firmly to the truck. The operator must also maintain a safe distance from the pit and utility lines to prevent contact during a dump. You can consider the line marking for an accurate estimation of utility presence.

Routine Maintenance

Daily walkarounds and regular equipment maintenance are necessary for recognising safety issues before they turn into a hazard. Leak checks, belt inspection, fitting and hose inspection, and proper condition of tires are some of the tests to conduct.

Vacuum excavation is one of the best methods for standard construction and damage protection. The process continues to gain popularity, thanks to these safety applications. They help you work smart and safe by drastically reducing workplace risks.