Drain-Cleaning: Training Ensures Safe Operations

  May 12, 2009

This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is key safety considerations during drain-cleaning operations.

Making sure operators follow key safety features is important for any drain-cleaning job, but safety concerns become even more prevalent when renting. When operators use the equipment for the first time or only a couple times throughout the year, they do not have a chance to become familiar with the way the machines function. Regardless of comfort level, operators should read the owner’s and instructions manuals and possibly consider more in-depth training.

Manufacturers of drain-cleaning equipment can be the ones that provide that training. Even if someone is properly trained and comfortable with the equipment, operators need to follow a handful of basic safety measures when cleaning drains, including the following:

• Make sure electric drain-cleaning machines come with an electrical cord that features an equipment-grounding conductor and a grounding plug.

• Ensure the machines have a ground-fault circuit interrupter.

• Use only a three-wire extension cord that has a three-pronged, grounding-type plug.

• Keep loose-fitting clothing away from the cable.

• When using cutter blades, make sure they are securely attached to the cable.

• Do not turn on the machine until the cable is inserted about 5 or 6 feet into the drain line.

When it comes to personal protective equipment, manufacturers recommend using leather gloves — not cloth or rubber, due to the risk of getting caught in the cable — safety glasses, and rubber-soled shoes or boots.


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