Hazards in sewer systems: 5 ways to prevent them from causing harm.
What is a sewer system?
According to wikipedia.org, A sewer system is an infrastructure that conveys sewage or surface runoff (stormwater, meltwater, rainwater) using sewers. It encompasses components such as receiving drains, Manholes, pumping stations, storm overflows, and screening chambers of the combined sewer or sanitary sewer. Sewerage ends at the entry to a sewage treatment plant or the point of discharge into the environment.
Sewer systems are confined spaces. It presents numerous hazards that can cause harm to people or personnel carrying out a work activity.
Different types of sewer systems can exist in the workplace environment.
Three types of a sewer system
- Sanitary-domestic sewage.
- Storm- Runoff.
- Combined- domestic and runoff sewage.
Sewer systems have Different components like pipelines, Manholes, Wet Wells, dry good vaults and pump stations. So anyone working in a sewer system will encounter any of these components.
Working in a sewer system can present a host of common hazards. Knowing what to do will prevent those hazards from causing harm.
In this article, there are 5 ways to prevent sewer system hazards from causing harm on site.
Sewer System Hazards.
Hazards associated with sewage system includes
- Falling objects.
- Slips, trips and falls.
- Electrocution mainly from working with electricity in a wet environment.
- Drowning and engulfment.
- Low oxygen.
- Flammable gases.
- Chemicals from pipping
5 Ways to prevent sewer system hazards from causing harm
1. Get the service of a competent person
Make sure you engage a competent person capable of identifying hazards in a sewer system and ensure that those hazards are under control before the start of any task in the sewer system.
2. Create a permit Space program.
There should be a written program targeted at sewer system activities.
This program will guide every people involved in the project to know what to do safely. The program must be available for all persons to read and understand what to do to work safely.
3. Danger signs and signage.
Ensure you post danger signages for every sewer system on site-This will help inform every employee of the dangers around where you are working. And also indicate the presence of a sewer system. Signs indicating permit required confined do not enter may be in use.
4. Inform employees and other persons around the vicinity.
When working in a sewer system, Inform other employees around the vicinity-this will go a long way to put them in the check so that they don’t intrude on your work area. Notify other contractors working in that area ahead of time promptly.
5. Prevent unauthorised entry.
Unauthorised entry into the environment in which you are working should not be permitted. You can do this by putting a barricade around those areas and using proper signage to ward off visitors or Intruders.
Sewer systems hazards are dangerous since it is a confined space. All concerned parties should ensure a safe sewer system activity
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Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.