looking up from down a hill, a Puck pump trailer sits atop the hill with a blue hose coming down towards the camera with the overlaid title Safety Guide Part 3 Operating Pump Units
July 27, 2021

Puck Equipment Safety Part 3: Operating Pump Units

Operating The Pump Unit Safely

Before you begin operating the pump unit, we highly recommend that you become familiar with equipment by studying the Puck-provided operator’s manual. Our pump units are very intricate and contain components that will need to be checked and monitored to ensure the unit can be operated in a safe manner. To help you stay safe on-site, follow operational guidelines for Puck pump units. 

Basic Pump Safety Guidelines 

Stay Clear of The Pump When Operating The Pump Unit

  • Moving hose by menders and/or couplers could cause damage to the hose and/or reel, which could lead to serious injury, or death. 
  • Being struck with couplers could cause serious injury or death. 
  • When the pump unit is in motion or about to be operated, the operator must be inside the tractor cab, and any other people need to maintain a distance of at least 20 feet. 
  • Entanglement in any rotating parts can cause serious injury or death. Stay away from all rotating parts when in motion. 
  • Make sure all persons are clear of the machine when testing hydraulic controls. 
  • Never wear loose clothing while working around moving parts. 

Be Aware of Dangerous Pinch & Crush Points

  • Never go near the machine when operating. 
  • Keep all body parts away from pinch points (i.e., gates, boom, flotation devices, nozzles, etc.) to avoid serious injury.
  • Keep all body parts away from crush points (i.e., outriggers, pump impeller, etc.)
    to avoid serious injury.

Clear Away Any Foreign Objects 

  • Before use, make sure that the machine does not have any foreign objects or material in it that could cause equipment damage or personal injury.

Do Not Ride On The Pump Unit 

  • No one–for any reason–should be on the pump while it is on the lagoon, in the field, or on-site. Riding the machine while it’s on the lagoon, in the field, or on-site can cause serious injury or even death. If there is a problem with the pump, turn it completely off and remove it from the lagoon or field prior to any maintenance or service.

Never Leave The Unit Running Unattended 

  • Be sure the pump is securely positioned before leaving the tractor cab.

Never Operate Without Guards In Place 

  • Replace any damaged or missing guards before operating the machine.
  • Failure to have guards on the pump can result in injury. 

Use Safety Chains (If Equipped) 

  • Twist safety chain tight when securely fastening it to the pump unit for added reinforcement. 

Stay Clear of The Rotating Engine Fan 

  • When the engine is running, keep your arms and legs away from the rotating fan. The fan is extremely dangerous and may cause serious injury. Be sure to turn the engine off and wait for the fan to stop moving before servicing. 

Avoid Bodily Injury 

  • No one–for any reason–should be on the pump while it is in operation. Before servicing the unit, shut it down entirely and remove it from the lagoon or field. Utilize personal flotation devices and/or personal protective equipment as required. Remember, being on/in a manure body or storage container is EXTREMELY dangerous and should be avoided at all times. Avoid handling the machine while the power is on and it is running.

Do Not Park On An Incline 

  • Failure to park on a level surface could cause the machine to tip backward or sideways. 
  • Avoid serious injury or death by parking the unit on a stable, level surface.

Exercise Caution When Backing Up 

  • Use another person to guide you when you back up the pump. 

Never Operate On Steep Slopes 

  • Never operate this machine on steep slopes. Do not drive near the edge of a gully or steep embankment. Failure to heed this warning may result in the unit rolling over or losing balance, causing serious injury or death.

Never Perform Maintenance While In Operation 

  • Never lubricate, adjust, or repair the pump unit while it is in operation. The machine must be shut off, and all movement stopped, and the master switch in the off position. The gates, outriggers, and boom can cause serious injury or death! 

Shut Off and Release Pressure Prior To De-Coupling 

  • Be sure to shut off and release pressure before unhooking any hoses, connections, or fittings. Failure to do so could cause injury. 

Advanced Pump Safety Procedures

Attaching Hoses

When attaching hoses, make sure that you are using lines with approved clamps, and that all fasteners are placed in a downward position, so they do not fall out when the pump unit is running. Check the hoses to make sure that there is no air present in the lines. Air pressure is extremely dangerous and has the potential to create unpredictable and erratic movement of the pump unit. If air is present in the lines, safely leave the area and wait until the air bleeds off completely. When you are preparing to detach any hoses, open ALL of the gates and carefully open the ball valve to ensure ALL of the air pressure is relieved from the hoses and piping PRIOR to unhooking any hoses, clamps, caps, etc. 

Cleaning or “Pigging” the Line from the Pump Unit

Hose cleaning is the most dangerous activity in our line of work. 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: 

  1. Idle the pump unit down 
  2. Shut down the hydrostat (failing to shut it down will damage the pump)
  3. 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)
  4. Remove the clamp on the pig shooter cap, and then remove the cap 
  5. Insert the foam pig into the tube and replace the cap and clamp 
  6. Attach the air hose to the pig shooter and air compressor
  7. Insert safety clips on the air hose fittings
  8. Turn on the air compressor (consult your air compressor manual for proper operations instructions)
  9. Open the pig shooter gate on the pump 
  10. Open the ball valve on the pig shooter
  11. 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:

  1. Close the ball valve at the air compressor 
  2. 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)
  3. Once the air is completely relieved from ENTIRE hose AND piping system, close ball valve on pig shooter
  4. Remove air compressor hose from pig shooter cap
  5. Ensure ALL outlets on the piping system are properly capped 
  6. Open ALL in-line gates in the piping system
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. ONLY after ensuring that EVERY piece of the pipe and hose system is free of pressure should hoses or caps be removed

If you have any questions or are unsure of what to do, feel free to give our knowledgeable team a call anytime at 712.481.9097. We encourage you to continue on the path of safety by taking a look at Part 4 of our Safety Guide (Agitating and Pumping Safety).

Safety Disclaimer:

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.