September 2021 | Issue 1
Hydroblasting Basics for Permit Writers
The HBR Industrial Cleaning Committee (ICC), working with the WaterJet Technology Association (WJTA), has identified the need for permit writers at industrial facilities to be better trained in the specifics of and danger areas around water blasting operations.

The ICC and WJTA developed a 24 slide presentation entitled Hydroblasting Basics for Permit Writers. Although there have been significant advances to make water blasting automated and safer in the past few years, the practice is still hazardous enough to warrant a tool to better train operators who might issue permits to water blasting crews.

This presentation includes the following subjects:
1) why water blasting is necessary,
2) different types of water blasting,
3) injuries, solutions & PPE, and
4) equipment and training.

This presentation is designed to help operators who may not be familiar with water blasting operations understand enough about the processes and dangers to ensure they know what is needed and ensure that contractors stay as safe as possible while performing this work on their sites. For more information or to get a copy of the presentation, please get in touch with Peter Writer of WJTA at
Innovation Through Collaboration
Periodically, heat exchangers are housed within confined spaces. During cleaning events, vision is impaired due to mist, steam, and spray from high-pressure water cleaning. We must also consider the PPE requirements the employee must adhere to, fatigue from several hours of manual hydro-blasting, and manually moving an anti-withdrawal device from tube to tube. All these items elevate risk and are potential IDLH situations if not managed properly.

The pictures above are examples of products on the market that allow the cleaning process outside the confined space.
Industrial Tank Cleaning Operations can pose many hazards to workers; amongst the top hazards are injuries caused by high-pressure water and confined spaces. Of the two, high-pressure water strikes are the most common.

From October 2016 to August 2020, OSHA received at least 230 serious injury reports caused by work with high-pressure water across all industries. As for confined spaces, an industry profile search of NAICS family code 562 that includes industrial and commercial tank cleaning operations found that of the 320 confined space citations OSHA issued from October 2019 through September 2020, 66 were issued to this NAICS family code. This was by far the most issued to any NAICS family grouping.
The OSHA Houston Area Offices look forward to our continued partnership with the Industrial Cleaning Committee and exploring opportunities to help provide industry workers with a workplace free from recognized hazards.
Jorge L. Gomez
Houston Business Roundtable |