Using the Incorrect Wash Down Reels Within the Water Industry

    Wash down facilities are still uncommon in companies in the water industry, even though they play an important role. Companies who already have wash down facilities could be using the wrong hoses and reels to complete this necessary process properly and safely. With an increasing number of usable products being released into the marketplace, it is time to pick the proper hoses for new facilities.

    By Daniel Frith, Project Manager and Technical Specialist at Arco Limited

    Within many industries, such as water and wastewater treatment, there is a need to install wash down facilities on site. These facilities tend to be sited around tanker loading and unloading areas, or where equipment may need to be periodically cleaned.

    Professionals in the hose industry have been studying the ongoing misuse of hoses issue, that is prevalent in many companies; a significant number of companies and contractors are not using or installing the correct type of hose or even the most suitable equipment to carry out the essential cleaning process. Typically, many of these types of facilities have revealed they are using hoses and reels that are not designed for the wash down process, which could be causing them unnecessary safety risks and increased costs.

    Why Use a Reel?

    A loose hose will do the job and will provide the required wash down provision needed. However, a loose hose could be a potential trip hazard to both employees and contractors and could cause more workplace accidents. The loose hose could also be exposed to damage itself from people and/or vehicles. With time being a precious commodity, it is unlikely that all operators responsible for washing down take the time to manually coil up a length of hose after every use. Not only is it a time-consuming job, but also physically demanding, especially with longer hoses. In addition, a loose hose can be easily moved and used in a different location, meaning the hose is not always guaranteed to be in the right place when required. A hose reel is a fixed asset and will ensure the hose is always available when needed and stored safely in-between use.

    Under The Workplace (Heath, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers have a duty to ensure floors are in good condition and free from obstructions. A trailing hose is at best an inconvenience, and at worst an accident waiting to happen. Using a hose reel is a means to reduce the risk of accidents for employees as well as third parties. The main benefits of using a hose reel are threefold:

    1. A reduction in the risk of slips, trips and falls
    2. A reduced cost for repair and replacement of equipment
    3. An increase in workplace efficiency

    Using the Wrong Reels

    Without even realizing it, many organizations are currently using the wrong type of hose reel for the wash down process. When specifying a hose reel for this purpose they often request a 30m reel with a 19mm (3/4 inches) or 25mm (1 inch) hose with trigger nozzle, as this often delivers the optimum amount of water for the task and may even reference EN 694 or EN 671. This type of product and these standards are associated with fire hose reels, which have been widely used for this application in the past. To the untrained user, a fire hose reel may seem like a cost-effective option that meets the specified criteria and delivers the same volume of water. However, using a fire hose reel poses almost the same—if not more—risks than using a loose hose without a reel.

    Just like a loose hose, a fire hose reel needs to be manually recoiled after use. Fire reels are designed to be used in emergency situations and not multiple times a day. The internal parts are not robust enough to withstand the regular use and this can lead to leaks and failures. This will ultimately render the wash down facility out of service which can in-turn impact the operational capacity of the site.

    The Best Wash Down Solution

    Unlike a loose hose and fire reel, a spring retractable hose reel will take away effort from the operator, winding the hose back on to the drum for safe storage. It will reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls, and will also help extend the life of the hose, keeping it off the floor and away from potential damage.

    These heavy-duty industrial reels are designed for continuous use and will meet the demands of the application without the pitfalls of a loose hose or a fire reel. The reels are also more versatile with moveable guide arms, allowing them to be mounted on the wall, floor or ceiling depending on the location of the install. An optional pivot bracket can be used to increase the range covered by the reel, making it the ideal solution for wash down applications.