Puck Equipment Safety Part 2: Hose Precautions
Exercising Strict Safety Measures When Cleaning Hoses and Installing Hose Couplers
Puck equipment and hoses are capable of moving massive amounts of liquid. That high volume of fluid also puts an immense amount of pressure on the hoses and couplers day-in and day-out. Properly maintaining your hoses is paramount in ensuring the integrity and longevity of the lines (see our tips on hose maintenance).
However, hose maintenance is one of the most dangerous and potentially deadly tasks you can perform on the job. When you cut corners or don't pay attention, the risk of severe or fatal injuries goes up for everyone. We take hose maintenance very seriously, and so should you. To help you steer clear of danger, we've outlined the proper steps for cleaning hoses and installing couplers. Follow these safety procedures to a "T," and you can reduce the risk of hose-related incidents from happening.
Cleaning or “Pigging” The Line From The Pump Unit
Hose cleaning is the most dangerous activity in our line of work, a point we'll continue to reiterate. In a process called "Pigging," we clear the hose with a foam bullet or sponge ball (called a pig) using compressed air to shoot the foam projectile from one end of the line to the other.
Using compressed air to move the pig creates air pressure that's erratic and unpredictable. The line turns into a container of stored energy until the pig is exhausted. If a hose were to rupture, shut off the air compressor only if it is safe to do so. The general rule is to stay back out of the way until the air bleeds off entirely. Never touch a hose with air pressure in it! This practice could result in severe injury or death.
Steps for Pigging The Line With Compressed Air
When operating the air compressor, stay a minimum of 20 feet away from all hoses. Stand behind the air compressor, or retreat to your vehicle. Under no circumstance are you to stand on, lift, or touch hoses while cleaning the line with air. Diligently follow these next steps to start the cleaning process:
- Idle the pump unit down
- Shut down the hydrostat (failing to shut it down will damage the pump)
- Ensure that all the line pressure has been relieved from the system (CAREFULLY crack the ball valve on the pig shooter cap to ensure the pressure is not present)
- Remove the clamp on the pig shooter cap, and then remove the cap
- Insert the foam pig into the tube and replace the cap and clamp
- Attach the air hose to the pig shooter and air compressor
- Insert safety clips on the air hose fittings
- Turn on the air compressor (consult your air compressor manual for proper operations instructions)
- Open the pig shooter gate on the pump
- Open the ball valve on the pig shooter
- Open the ball valve on the air compressor
Steps After The Line Is Cleaned
Once the line is cleaned of debris, there is still more to take care of before packing everything up. Use the following steps to finish cleaning:
- Close the ball valve at the air compressor
- Allow all air pressure to fully exhaust through the application tractor (DO NOT attempt to exhaust air at any other point in the line, including at pig shooter location)
- Once air is completely relieved from ENTIRE hose AND piping system, close ball valve on pig shooter
- Remove air compressor hose from pig shooter cap
- Ensure ALL outlets on the piping system are properly capped
- Open ALL in-line gates in the piping system
- Carefully open the ball valve on the pig shooter to ensure that ALL air is relieved, and NO pressure is trapped in separate cavities within the piping
- BEFORE removing clamps, spin and slide the cap or hose in and out within the clamp to ensure latent pressure is not holding it tight to the clamp
- ONLY after ensuring that EVERY piece of the pipe and hose system is free of pressure should hoses or caps be removed
Installing Hose Couplers
While installing hose couplers doesn't rise to the degree of danger as pigging does, improper installation can cause problems and personal risk down the road. When you install the coupler ends, be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and use the proper tools. The most important aspect of fitting a coupler is achieving the right tightness between the coupler collar and hose end. Having the coupler too tight or too loose will create issues.
How Tight Does The Fitting Need To Be?
We recommend tightening the coupler bolts to a maximum of 60 ft-lb. That applies even when you are using an impact wrench or a breaker bar. When you use either of those tools to set the coupler bolts, you can easily shear the threads if you over-tighten the nut (see Example 1 below). A saying we always like to use, get it as tight as you can get it with a "tee-handled Allen wrench.”
What Happens If The Coupler Is Too Tight or Too Loose?
Aside from having sheered bolts, a coupler collar that is tightened beyond the recommended foot-pounds of torque can cut into the structural yarns in the hose and cause the line to rip. A sign that your coupler is too loose is when the entire hose slips out from the collar altogether.
Slipping of the hose could also be due to fitting the collar and line together when their surfaces are wet. Be sure to dry both pieces before assembly. We urge everyone to routinely check the hoses before and after use to look for these issues before they turn into a problem.
If you have any questions or are unsure of what to do, feel free to give our knowledgeable team a call–anytime–at 712.655.9200. We encourage you to continue on the path of safety by taking a look at Part 3 of our Safety Guide (Operating Pump Units).
You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. Puck Enterprises does not assume any liability for the materials, information, and opinions provided on or available through this web page. No advice or information given by Puck Enterprises or its employees shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information, or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources, or precautions related to the installation, operation, maintenance, or repair of Puck Enterprises or BullDog Hose Company equipment or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. Puck Enterprises disclaims any liability for injury, death, or damages resulting from the use thereof.