European water jetting forum meets in BrusselsPublished 25/3, 2019 at 13:56
In February the European Water Jetting Institute (EWJI) hosted the European Water Jetting Forum 2019 in Brussels with some 20 participants from national associations, contractors and manufacturers in attendance.
Water jetting global standards was one of the most important topics of the recent water jetting forum, with an overall presentation by Kerry Siggins. Chief executive of StoneAge from Colorado, USA, a company that designs and manufactures high pressure water blasting tools and equipment for industrial cleaning. Kerry shared her knowledge and experience in participating in the global standard process, stating that, “The global safety associations must partner with all three stakeholders (equipment manufacturers, contractors and asset owners) to implement more stringent and standardised best practices.”
The beginning of the global standards process started in May 2018 with initial meetings with various global safety organisations and asset owners at the Sewage Technology, IFAT international trade fair. The primary fundamentals of safe water jetting operations’ were completed in October 2018. These were ratified in November by water jetting associations in Europe, USA and Asia, as well as multinational companies contracting water jetting services including BASF, Dow, DuPont and Total. The standardisation process will now continue to, for example, formalise a global industrial cleaning standards committee, perform a gap analysis of the various standards used around the world, promote and market the importance of using basic hydro-blasting standards and the use of automation.
The water jetting forum also included presentations and discussion related to contractors in order to provide advice on assessment, safety and accreditation that can improve the industry knowledge base. For example, Stuart Harwood of the French work safety association S3C (système de certification, cempteténce et conformité) presented how his organisation certifies competence in the field of water jetting in industrial situations in France. This is done by creating technical standards and organisational practices, and by using programmable or remote control machines wherever possible. Additionally, it acknowledges the individual skills of personnel carrying out activities in these areas for both asset owners, and contractors, as well as by sharing and studying members’ experience.
There was also a debate about the European qualification for workers and equipment operators that provided a wide topic for discussion, being of interest to all companies in the sector. There is, however, a huge disparity in what European countries are doing today to obtain recognised qualifications for workers and operators. While very organised in France, with S3C for example, in other countries the situation is not so well structured. “In Sweden it is up to every contractor or manufacturer of equipment to define and obtain their own safety standards,” said Per-Arne Andersson of TST Sweden that develops workplace safety solutions for industries such as water jetting. The clear message from the forum was that there is still a great deal to be done on a European and international level to achieve global standards.
EWJI was created in 2015 following the model of similar organisations at European level. The aim is to establish an umbrella organisation bringing together national associations, contractors, suppliers and prescribers involved in the industry. The key goal for EWJI is the development and standardisation of services and products related to water jetting, in whatever field of application it may be used.