A NEW ERA IN WATER JETTING SAFETY
A well known bridge maintenance consortium has recently adopted Kerrick’s new range of high visibility protective ProOperator clothing range. The clothing offers protection from hydraulic swipe and injection injuries at pressures of up to 7,500 psi and will be used for day to day use in the maintenance operations of one of New Zealand’s most iconic bridges.
Having won several health and safety awards over the years from ACC, the Department of Labour and SafeGuard, this consortium places a premium on ensuring the safety of their employees, and is constantly on the lookout on ways to improve procedures.
Long term clients of Kerrick, they have been using petrol water blasters for the removal of salt residue from the Bridge for a number of years now. Operators carry out the removal of salt using Kerrick Hyqua Blitz water blasters operating at 3,500 psi and 15 l/min. The circumstances they deal with involve extreme heights, slippery/wet conditions and sometimes confined spaces, making it highly dangerous work. Extremely safety conscious the adoption of harnesses, hard hats and safety glasses has been strictly enforced but clothing offering protection from swipe and injection injuries had not been implemented for a number of reasons.
Traditionally protective water jetting clothing has been armour-like making it somewhat bulky and difficult to move in (an issue when operators need to wear harnesses or climb through tight spaces), it has also been very costly. Upon seeing Kerrick’s new range of ProOperator clothing, the consortium purchased and tested a few products from the range to see if it could meet their requirements.
Practical, waterproof and lighter weight than traditional safety wear, ProOperator provides protection from jetting injuries at pressures of up to 7,500psi. It’s comfortable and easy to wear nature make it more appealing to wear over traditional armour-like styles which can be difficult to put on and uncomfortable to work in. Kerrick has also recently bought in a new hi-vis range that gives the added protection of high visibility on the job site, reducing the risk of accidents occurring due to staff not being seen by other workers.
Operators and managers testing the PPE were so impressed with the gear, they’ve purchased hi-vis ProOperator overalls, jackets and trousers for their entire water blasting team.
This case study highlights a change in attitude that has occurred in industrial practices over the last few years. The Pike River Mining accident provided food for thought for many employers and there is now a concerted drive for improved health and safety management on job sites; with the aim of reducing risks and improving staff awareness of best practice. While many firms like the bridge maintenance consortium are taking the initiative in accident prevention, new health and safety laws will be holding all employers accountable for the safety and well being of their staff from April 2016 onwards. It’s therefore imperative that employers familiarise themselves with the new laws, revisit their safety plans and ensure the safety of their staff is held paramount.
Watch the video below to see the bridge maintenance team in action using Kerrick's range of ProOperator high vis protective clothing.
Cleaning the bridge spans with free and easy movement in ProOperator safety clothing.
A section of the bridge after cleaning and before cleaning.
A hard working Kerrick Hyqua Blitz water blaster.