The advent of hydroexcavation has been a boom for many difficult, dangerous and messy jobs, especially in the oil and gas industry. Used to suction thick and sometimes oil-saturated mud from oil drilling rigs, this technology works quickly to allow the drilling process to continue without stopping until an underground oil deposit is reached. It can be very dangerous, so the first priority when performing hydroexcavation is to know the equipment, how to properly use it, and how to tell when maintenance or repair is needed. Appropriate Training As with any specialized equipment, it is foolish to think that it can be operated without extensive training. Proper operations must require undergoing complete training on the equipment, troubleshooting of any problems, proper maintenance protocol, and many other safety procedures for that equipment to include Confined Space training for any who will work in confined spaces such as with cleaning oil tanks. Even then, hydroexcavation is difficult and it is customary to send trainees on jobs with more experienced operators to serve as trainers. Vacuum tank trucks can appear deceptively easy to operate and yet are really exceptionally strong and, in the right situation, capable of causing severe damage and injury. Safety Measures When expecting equipment to be reliable, it must be properly maintained and any problems identified by following the guidelines listed below. Daily Inspection - Inspecting these work trucks every day may seem very essential, yet such action can many times prevent failure before it happens. Being sure trucks are running properly and all equipment closely examined should be automatic. It must be an ingrained habit, done every time without fail. Correct Use - Understanding the impact that improperly fitting or wrong parts can have is something to be properly instructed. With heavy-duty vacuum trucks, using the wrong hose or nozzle can especially cause problems with clogs and pressure buildup, otherwise creating dangerous situations. Following All Safety Precautions - Grounding vacuum trucks is a safety procedure that can be devastating if ignored; with a hydroexcavator in the oilfields, it is especially important. When working with potentially flammable materials, all precautions must be taken to prevent a spark causing a fire. Job Site Safety Safety at the work site is vital in order to prevent accidents, injury or other problems and must always be an operator responsibility. It is vital to always consider the following safety practices: Required Safety Gear - Heavy trucks and machinery come with safety instructions and what should be worn for on-the-job protection. It does no good towards safe operations if it stays in the truck. Good Communication Skills - When operating machinery that is very loud, a number of hand signals must be understood in order to communicate quickly without having to shut off the vehicle. Work In Pairs - On most job sites, it is important for operators to work in pairs to prevent accidents or injury. While using the equipment or even maneuvering the vehicle, a second operator must be watchful for any problems and keep others away from the truck and job site as well. Always Park Level - This is especially important when filling or unloading a hydroexcavator, since uneven parking can cause the vehicle to overturn when the tank empties and vehicle weight changes. Anticipate this and always park on solid, level ground to prevent serious accidents from happening. The great thing about hydroexcavators and similar types of trucks is the way in which a very difficult job can be handled quickly and smoothly. As with any other equipment, the efficiency of the job depends on safety and training, so each worker needs to know how to manage and maintain vehicle safety at all times!