Contractor Fined for Waterjetting Incident That Killed Worker

Incident showcases the respect that must always be given to working with high-pressure water

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The potential danger of the high-pressure jetting systems contractors work with in this industry is well known. An $85,000 fine recently imposed on an Ontario contractor emphasizes that fact. 

The fine stems from an Aug. 26, 2017 incident. At the time the contractor was working under the name Fencor Hydro Excavation. According to a Ministry of Labour press release, a two-person crew from the company was cleaning catch basins at a property in Mississauga, Ontario. One of the workers was operating a hand-held remote for the hydrovac truck as well as the jetting wand. At one point, the worker held the flexible part of the hose to allow the wand to get into a deeper area of a drain. He lost control, dropped the hose, and was killed when the water jet hit him in the neck. The other worker was also hit by the water jet and received minor injuries. 

An operator-controlled trigger can be attached between the hose and wand, causing the water jet to be immediately shut off if the trigger isn’t continually squeezed. This jetting system didn’t have the operator-controlled trigger installed. 

“Although the company purchased and made available operator-controlled triggers for its vehicles where requested by operators, there was no policy or instruction requiring workers to use the operator-controlled trigger attachment,” the Ministry of Labour stated. “Industry guidelines recommend the use of an operator-controlled trigger on the wands of high-pressure waterjetting systems due to the hazards associated with uncontrolled water jets. The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Source: Ministry of Labour


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