By LeAnn Hampton and Peter Wright / Published January 2020
The WaterJet Technology Association (WJTA) welcomed more than 1,100 attendees representing 35 countries to the 2019 WJTA Conference & Expo held November 11–13 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.
Record numbers participated in the pre-conference workshop, “Waterjet Technology: Basics and Beyond,” educational “boot camp” sessions, and technical research paper presentations. WJTA introduced a new, highly focused, day-long educational course designed specifically for representatives from industrial plants and facilities where contract cleaning is performed. Live demonstrations featured new pumps, tools, and automation technology operating live and under pressure. More than 90 exhibitors displayed new products and equipment.
The 2019 meeting also marked the launch of WJTA’s hydroblast operator training and certification program developed in partnership with the Houston Area Safety Council (HASC). In response to varying training programs among contractors and varying or non-existent training requirements from asset owners, as well as the continuing challenges of workforce development and retention, WJTA developed the entry level operator training and certification program based on the recommendations in the association’s Industry Best Practices for the Use of High Pressure Water-jetting Equipment.
The training and certification program include the computer-based Foundational Training (FT) and the instructor-led, hands-on Field Verification (FV) instruction and skills evaluation. The hydroblast FT and FV credentials can be transferred between employers, and several petrochemical plants and asset owner groups have already endorsed the WJTA training as a site requirement or best practice.
Additional credentials for hydroblast operators will be considered in the future, and work is already underway to develop a similar training and certification program for vacuum operators based on the WJTA’s Recommended Practices for the Use of Industrial Vacuum Equipment.
Bill Gaff is vice president of sales and marketing for Vacuum Truck Rentals LLC and Vacuum Truck Sales and Service, both headquartered in Richland, MS, and he has been elected the 2019–2021 chairman of the WJTA board. Also elected for the 2019–2021 term are President Bill McClister, a consultant in La Porte, TX; Vice President Kerry Siggins, chief executive officer with StoneAge Inc. in Durango, CO; Secretary Gary Noto, with HydroChemPSC in Deer Park, TX; and Treasurer George A. Savanick, Ph.D., a consultant in South St. Paul, MN.
Newly elected and re-elected board members are James W. Ashmead of DuPont Specialty Products USA LLC; Pat DeBusk of USA DeBusk; Luis Garcia of Northern Safety & Industrial; and Drew Waltenbaugh with NLB Corporation.
Jimmy Peck of MPW Industrial Services and Alan Smith with BASF continue to serve remaining terms on the WJTA Board of Directors.
A brand new, completely revised edition of the WJTA’s orange book, Industry Best Practices for the Use of High Pressure Waterjetting Equipment, is now available. The new manual is the result of an in-depth review by WJTA’s Safety Committee for High Pressure, which includes expert contractors, manufacturers, asset owners, and academics. In reviewing the orange book, WJTA’s committee considered the current best practices among contractors and sites and the current state of technology within the industry. Additionally, the committee examined recommendations from the safe work practice guidance of Canada’s WorkSafe BC and the Dutch/Belgian high pressure cleaning manual, which was recently revised by the Stichting Industriële Reiniging (SIR) in the Benelux. Several recommendations from these sources were incorporated into the WJTA orange book, which is developed primarily for the North American market.
The WJTA has undertaken the development of a new, completely redone Vacuum Safety Video. The WJTA Vacuum Safety Video is a companion video to the association’s Recommended Practices for the Use of Industrial Vacuum Equipment manual. The new video is in production and is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2020. The new half-hour video will include the updates in the third edition manual, such as extensive best practices procedures for loading and off-loading flammables and combustibles, PPE requirements, loading oxidizers, hydro- and pneumatic-excavation, barricading and hose routing, and more.
The WJTA recommended practices manuals for waterjetting and vacuum operations have been published in a new format—a pocket-sized operator handbook. The Hydroblaster Mini Orange Book and Vacuum Operator Blue Book contain the same text and imagery as the Industry Best Practices for the Use of High Pressure Waterjetting Equipment and Recommended Practices for the Use of Industrial Vacuum Equipment, but are resized and reformatted for ease of reference in the field or while traveling.
WJTA is a founding member of the Global Industrial Cleaning Coalition (GICC), a recently formed collaboration between international industrial cleaning associations and asset owners from around the world. Following informal meetings at the 2018 IFAT trade fair in Munich, Germany, and the 2018 WJTA-IMCA Expo in New Orleans, LA, USA, the GICC was formed in June 2019. The GICC is a voluntary coalition of international industrial cleaning associations, including WJTA and groups from the U.K., France, the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), Germany, Korea, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The purpose of the GICC is to help save lives and reduce injuries in the industrial cleaning industry through the collaborative development and promotion of basic industrial cleaning principles.
Having developed a set of basic, high-level waterjetting principles, the GICC technical committee has begun a gap analysis of different best practices documents from around the world. At the same time, the coalition has offered support to developing associations in regions of the world where a local association does not exist to serve industrial cleaning contractors and asset owners. Planning is underway for additional meetings and activities in 2020.
WJTA’s growing membership is a resource for contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, and asset owners worldwide. Membership at the corporate and individual levels offers access to industry news, information, and collaboration opportunities, as well as recognition for participating in a global, industry-leading safety and technology association. Learn more at WJTA.org.