VACUUM
TRUCK
OPERATIONS
CAER Safety Summit –
June 2012
GULF COAST FATALITY – INCIDENT LEARNINGS
2007 a Vacuum Truck Helper was Exposed to H2S Vapors due to
Incompatible Materials Reacting Inside the Vacuum Truck.
• The Truck was Drained, but not Cleaned, after Recovering Material from
a Previous Chemical Cleaning Job.
• Established Procedures Must Be Followed and Reinforced
•The Work Permit did not Include Vacuuming Material from the Secondary
Containment (Which Contained Acid)
• Work Permits Must Be Specific and Must Be Followed
• The Vacuum Truck Company added a Second Truck to the Job, without
contacting Operations
• All Personnel who Sign-on a Permit Must Read and Understand it AND
Proposed Changes Must be Approved by Operations.
• The Vacuum Truck Operator and Helper did not Properly Respond to the
PHM Alarms by Immediately Leaving the Area
• All Personnel Must Evacuate the Work Area without Exception
VACUUM TRUCK BASIC
PRINCIPLES OF OPERATION
Training and Awareness
Clean Tanks and Vacuum Pumps
Product Identification
Mixing of Materials – Not Allowed
Static Electricity Management
Control of Vacuum Pump Vapors
Personal H2S Alarm Actions
Defined and Controlled Offloading
TRAINING AND AWARENESS
Contract Vacuum Truck Operators must be trained:
• API Recommended Practice 2219 for Safe Operation of Vacuum
Trucks in Petroleum Service
• Their Company Specific Vacuum Truck Procedures
• Loading, Unloading, Venting, Bonding/Grounding, Continuity
Checks, Scrubbers, etc
• HAZWOPER Certified
Workers working with vacuum truck operators (Plant Operators,
Mechanics, Supervisors, etc) must have Awareness training in the
principles of Safe Vacuum Truck Operations.
• Unit Operators must be specifically trained to be familiar with the
Vacuum Truck Checklist and the Offloading Matrix.
Vacuum Truck Checklist
• All Vacuum Trucks Loaded
and/or Unloaded must have a
completed Refinery Vacuum Truck
Checklist.
•
•
•
•
•
Date – Driver - Company
Identify Material to be Loaded
Verify Clean Tank & Pump
Scrubbing System Needed?
Loading & Offloading Locations
•
•
•
•
•
Designated Location
Operator Signatures
Permits Needed
Bonding & Grounding
Positioning & Venting
• Electrical Continuity Verified
• Hard Connections < 15 psi
CLEAN TANKS AND VACUUM PUMPS
To Prevent Possible Harmful Chemical Reactions:

The tank and pump must be cleaned after each load, except:
1. When Returning to the Same Location to Load the Same
Material, or
2. When Performing a Repetitive Job Order with Known MaterialsCharacteristics (typically Hydrocarbon on Hydrocarbon) e.g. Slops
Barrels Pick-up Runs

Vacuum Trucks are cleaned at the End of Each Day to Prevent
the Possibility of a Dirty Truck being used on an After-Hours
Callout.
Note: Any Truck Left Dirty Must Have its Keys Locked in a Lock Box that is Only
Accessible by a Maintenance Supervisor and a Form Must be Completed
Describing the Material Last Loaded.
PRODUCT IDENTIFICATION
All Materials Loaded onto a Vacuum Truck must be Positively
Identified.
The Operator or Equipment Owner is Responsible to
Positively Identify the Material to be Loaded and the
Properties of the Material.
•Flammable or Combustible
•H2S or Other Toxic Characteristics
•Corrosive Material
MIXING OF MATERIALS NOT ALLOWED
Materials May Not Be Mixed!
Exception is Hydrocarbon on Hydrocarbon with a Repetitive
Job Order
• These Jobs are Done Several Times per week from
Designated Pick-up Locations
•
Materials are Similar and Compatible
STATIC ELECTRICITY MANAGEMENT
• Vacuum Truck Hoses Undergo Continuity Checks and
Scheduled Inspections
• Each Time a Vacuum Truck is Loaded the Vacuum Hose
and Grounding Wire are Checked for Electrical Continuity
• Plastic Containers Are Not Used to Catch Flammable or
Combustible Liquids
CONTROL OF VACUUM PUMP VAPORS
• Gasoline Range Materials Must Be Loaded by Alternative
Means:
• Butanes and Similar Materials are Not Loaded
• Light Hydrocarbons May be Pumped (BY USE OF A POSITIVE
DISPLACEMENT PUMP) onto the Truck, or
• Prior to Loading a Vacuum Can be Established to Draw the
Material onto the Truck without Running the Pump
• Caustic Scrubbers are Used to Reduce H2S Emissions
• Vacuum Pump Hoses are Extended At Least 50’ to a Safe
Location to Prevent Fire or Harmful Exposure to Personnel
PERSONAL H2S ALARM ACTIONS
• Any Job Requiring Vacuum Truck Operators to Wear Fresh
Air Must Have a Specific Procedure
• Virtually Never Done - Alternative Means Are Used
• All Vacuum Truck Operators / Helpers Must Wear a PHM
• All Plant Workers Must Wear PHMs, it is Emphasized for
Vacuum Truck Operators
• All Vacuum Truck Operators / Helpers Must be Aware of
What Actions to Take in the Event of a PHM Alarm
• All Personnel Must Be Aware of Actions to Take, it is
Emphasized with Vacuum Truck Operators
DEFINED AND CONTROLLED OFFLOADING
All Materials Loaded onto a Vacuum Truck Must have a
Designated Offloading Location Prior to Loading.
The Operator or Equipment Owner is Responsible to
Designate the Offloading Location According to a PreIdentified Offloading Matrix to Ensure Material Compatibility
Questions
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Vacuum Truck Operations