Sewer maintenance can be a dirty and dangerous job, but someone has to do it. Becoming a drainage worker is a brave occupation these days. Smart sewer maintenance company owners and managers can benefit from protecting their employees by implementing safety plans. By regularly reviewing the dangers of the job and ways to avoid injury or death, sewer maintenance workers and repair people can stay on top of the job and come home safely.
More Than a Smelly Problem
Sewer gases resulting from decaying materials festering in sewage systems can quickly create hazardous situations for workers. These gases may include, but not be limited to:
• Carbon monoxide
• Hydrogen sulfide
• Sulfur dioxide
Contact with these gases can result in painful lesions, rashes, lung disease and death. However, one of the most common risks associated with sewer gases is explosion and fire, due to flammable qualities of the compounds. Awareness of the risks surrounding uncontained sewer gases should be at the forefront of the priorities of sewer workers.
Greater Risk of Becoming Trapped
Sewers are inherently made to be confined spaces, in order to neatly and efficiently facilitate the removal of waste. When workers enter most sewer systems, they must contend with a variety of uncomfortable situations, like heat, dust and liquids, all of which have the potential to overwhelm a person. Combine these with insufficient manhole ventilation that leads to a general lack of oxygen and natural light, and a sewer worker can quickly become disoriented and ill. This can lead to the worker making unsafe decisions, which can result in fires or explosions in the sewer system.
Perks of Consistent Training
Sewer workers who have been trained to recognize unsafe situations often have a greater chance of avoiding danger. It is a good idea for managers to regularly evaluate the risks of individual sewer systems and delegate work appropriately based on the skill level and experience of their employees.