Production of the guide was prompted by the death in July 2015 of the operator of a truck-mounted suction excavator. This highlighted the need for the industry to set down some standards.
The publication provides specific recommendations around lone working, the use of a second operator and other supporting staff, and information relating to contaminated ground containing radioactive waste. The guide also includes clean-up procedures that should be followed when hazardous materials – particularly asbestos-based materials – are drawn into a machine. Further sections include daily and weekly checks, procedures for working at height, the use of red diesel on the public highway and the transporting of waste.
The 84-page guide, called Safe use of suction/vacuum excavators, is free to download from the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) website. It has been produced by the CPA’s suction and vacuum excavator special interest group (SAVE), with input from the Health & Safety Executive.