Members of NASSCO’s Infiltration Control Grouting Committee (ICGC) and NASSCO’s Health and Safety Committee have released a new certified grouting safety program aimed at the protection on grouting projects of not just the industry’s field workers but also warehouse personnel, engineers, transporters, and inspectors.

The concept is not new to the industry, but one that deserved renewed focus. David Magill first created Avanti International’s Safe Operating Practices Program (SOPP) in 1979, requiring all buyers of Acrylamide grout to certify their compliance with this program on a tri-annual basis. In 2002, Avanti was joined by NASSCO in supporting and implementing the industry standard guideline on safe operating procedures for the use of acrylamide grouts.

NASSCO grouting certification

After the release of two new grouting specifications in October 2021 (Pipeline Packer Injection Capital Grouting and Pipeline Packer Injection Pre-Rehabilitation Grouting v2.10), ICGC members turned their efforts toward updating the 2002 industry SOPP guidelines.

Led by NASSCO-member suppliers (Avanti International, American Chemical Grout Company, and Madewell Products), and joined by vendors of grouting equipment (Cues and Logiball) and contractors (Michels Trenchless), the concept of an industry wide Grouting Unified Safe Operating Practices Program (GUSOPP) was born. Over several months, the ICGC workgroup met to discuss current program requirements, share resources, and assemble a working document. After completion, the 30-page GUSOPP was carefully reviewed by NASSCO’s Health and Safety Committee in conjunction with NASSCO’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC). Finalized and released in April 2022, the completed document is now available for download on NASSCO.org.

The topic of Personal Safety addresses the responsibility of not only a company but also the responsibility of individuals to recognize, accept, and implement the requirement for the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during grouting operations. Links embedded in the document direct individuals to OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standards and the program’s specific requirements for small entity compliance. The GUSOPP also looks to provide guidance during grouting operations on the proper Respirators and Cartridges, Protective Suits, Boots, Hand, and Eye Protection – and provides some general guidelines on the use and care of PPE.

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New to this edition are subjects including Understanding DOT Placards, Global Harmonized Systems (GHS), and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). While these systems have been in place for many years, ICGC recognized that not everyone that may handle products have been exposed to or trained to understand exactly what they stand for. Everyone should be responsible to take measures to properly protect themselves and others. A link is also provided for an easy online UN/NA number search that will provide more information on the proper labels, special provisions, and quantity limits for acrylamide and its other components.

Rounding out the document, the final topics provide descriptions of the various materials used, best practices for product storage, transfer, and disposal, and lastly a daily grouting rig housekeeping checklist.

NASSCO’S vision to build awareness of aging underground infrastructure relies heavily on educating the industry of this critical need and providing viable solutions. In line with its focus on Safety, a self-paced, online certification test has been developed based on the information provided within the Grouting Unified Safe Operating Practices Program document (GUSOPP) and will soon be available through NASSCO’s online training site (nasscotrainingsource.org).

ICGC suggests that everyone involved in grouting operations acquire this certification including laborers, inspectors, transporters, and warehouse personnel. All grout distributors have agreed to incorporate the document into their own safety programs and to begin requiring companies to maintain current certification of their employees when purchasing grouting products like David Magill’s original SOPP program.

For more information on NASSCO, ICGC, and available training programs, please visit NASSCO.org or Sewergrouting.com.

John Manijak is with Michels Trenchless and is chair of the Infiltration Control Grouting Committee (ICGC).

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