Prior to taking off, the pilot and flight crew of an aircraft complete a pre-flight checklist. This list of tasks improves flight safety by ensuring that no important steps or issues are overlooked. Failure to correctly conduct the preflight check is a major contributing factor in aircraft maintenance.
Take charge of your own safe operations by conducting your own checklist. Check your drain cleaning machines, and other tools, for the following key safety items:
1. Check machines for damaged power cords, pulled out strain reliefs, damaged switches, and missing ground prongs.
2. Check that all machines have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). The GFCI should be integrated into the power cord so that not only the machine but the cord is protected as well.
3. Check that all machines use a pneumatic foot pedal, an air bubble connected to the machine through an air hose, so there’s no electricity running from the pedal to the machine.
4. Make sure leather gloves are being used. Never use any other type of glove, such as cloth or rubber when handling the cable. Recently a fire department was called to rescue a man from his own drain cable because he had worn rubber gloves that became stuck in the cable, the man ended up with an injured hand and was lucky that he didn’t lose any finger. To avoid having to be rescued from your own equipment, use the correct gloves. Cloth, rubber and other types of gloves can get caught between the coils of the cable and cause injury.
5. Make sure safety glasses are available and are worn when operating the machine to protect your eyes from debris that may spray from the drain.
6. Make sure your machine has a belt guard.
7. Replace worn or lost safety decals.
Go through your checks with an eye out for little things that are out of place. Bring a coworker along for an extra set of eyes — a safety co-pilot.