The operator behind the controls of that hydrovac truck rental however is a different story.
An experienced hydrovac operator can make substantial differences in performing hydrovac applications vs. somebody who simply knows how to drive and use one.
And those differences can have a huge impact on time and dollars spent on a job site.
Here are some things that only a professionally trained, experienced hydrovac operator can do for you, day-in and day-out.
Perform pre- and post-trip truck inspections
An experienced operator places hydrovac safety before everything else.
Before they assemble their crew and before they get behind the wheel and start the ignition, they’ll first inspect things like:
- Portable fire extinguishers
- First-aid kits
- Condition of truck lockouts and energy control consoles
- Strength of all cables, ropes and chains
- Storage and condition of tools and safety equipment
- Traffic control lights
- Tire pressure and oil pressure levels
- Rig and tank cleanliness
The moment an experienced hydrovac operator spots a vehicle defect, they won’t “worry about it” later.
Instead, they’ll inform management and take appropriate action.
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Monitor crew fatigue and performance (which can save on time & insurance costs)
Some jobs using hydro excavation equipment last longer than others and can take place in hot or uncomfortable conditions.
Over time, fatigue can set in and impact a crew’s ability to perform – both physically and mentally.
An experienced hydrovac operator will recognize the signs and symptoms of fatigue and take the proper course of action.
Whether that means:
- Ordering the crew (or individual worker) to take a rest
- Putting them on a different task
- Sending them home or for medical attention
- Providing on-site first-aid
A veteran operator is always monitoring their workers’ safety and performance as much as their truck’s.
Plus, knowing when to give their crew a break will minimize the risk of injury and the physical and financial costs associated with it.
Know the site before driving to it
There should be no surprises when a hydrovac crew arrives at a job site (even for emergency excavations).
After all, surprises usually cost money and time.
That’s because an experienced hydrovac operator knows the site layout well in advance of starting work.
They’ll be proactive and ask for diagrams, maps or blueprints outlining the location of key areas, like:
- Location of pipes, gas mains, wires and other daylighting utilities
- Safe parking and ingress/egress areas
- Any work areas to avoid or steer clear of
- Areas where fencing may need to be erected
That’s not all.
An experienced hydrovac operator also knows to watch out for things that a novice wouldn’t notice, such as wildlife activity and proximity to schools or other children’s facilities.
Make judgement calls according to weather conditions
Any hydrovac crew worth their salt is willing to work in extreme weather in order to get the job done.
An experienced hydrovac operator won’t let them.
Prolonged exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold can present dangers which may not be apparent until it’s too late.
First and foremost, an experienced hydrovac operator will make sure there’s a care kit on board, stocked with the following items:
- Heavy coats
- Flash light
- Emergency cell phone
- Bottled water
- Protein/high-energy snacks
And during extreme weather conditions, a hydrovac operator will encourage their crew to do things to mitigate the impact of weather exposure, such as sitting inside a truck (to stay warm) or taking water breaks (to cool down).
See the value of an experienced hydrovac operator yourself
Hydrovac operators at Fencor are trained in all local, provincial and federal standards.
They’re also trained in monitoring worker performance.
Lastly, they have years of experienced and apprenticeship before becoming a crew foreman themselves.
Add it up and it makes a big difference to the performance and level of service you expect.