Pump and boom operation and cleaning

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Using the pump and boom

Concrete pump and boom operators should be trained, supervised and competent to safely operate the equipment.

Plant operators should:

  • be familiar with and operate the plant and equipment in line with advice and information from the manufacturer
  • undertake daily inspection and maintenance before pumping starts
  • always attend to the equipment or make sure that a competent person is in attendance if working away from the equipment
  • pump concrete only when the grill is in the closed position
  • make sure that pump flow rates match discharge rates of concrete delivery trucks
  • be based at the pump and have a clear view of both the hose-hand and the hopper, if using remote control
  • if a clear view is not possible, then another competent person, other than the delivery truck driver, should be based at the hopper to be responsible for stopping the pump
  • follow the directions of and maintain communications with the hose-hand.

More information on safe pump and boom operation is provided in the section 4.3.2 of the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2005 (PDF, 1170.83 KB) .

Concrete pouring

The concrete pour involves the pouring of concrete through the delivery hose connected to the concrete pump to the concrete pump area. In doing this there are a number of risks including:

  • concrete lines bursting
  • lines becoming unrestrained
  • pipe clamps being dislodged.

Damage to the delivery hose may cause discharge of concrete under pressure.

Delivery hose

Ensure good quality of hose and avoid damage by:

  • checking hose for damage before being fitted
  • fitting a suitable stop device at the outlet end of the hose, where it is located above a working or public area
  • fixing the delivery hose fitting on a boom pump by a safety chain, sling or other retaining device in line with AS 1418.15-1994 Cranes (including hoists and winches) - Concrete placing equipment
  • using a delivery hose able to handle the pumping concrete pressure
  • steel re-enforced hoses should be used with high pressure pumps on high-rise satellite booms. Non re-enforced hoses should not be used on piston type pumps unless specified by the manufacturer
  • avoiding structural failure of the boom caused when additional hose is added to the end of a concrete placement boom for pumping concrete
  • using reducers to avoid overload of the hose or other parts of the unit
  • the hose-hand should wear eye protection in line with AS/NZS 1336:2014 Eye and face protection – Guidelines .

Check in detail the responsibilities for concrete pouring safety in section 4.3.3 of the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2005 (PDF, 1170.83 KB) .

Cleaning pipelines and pumps

Major tasks such as line cleaning and pump cleaning need to be handled with care:

Line cleaning

Line cleaning is undertaken with either high pressure water or air, to remove residual concrete in the pipeline. The sudden release of waste concrete under pressure can harm workers and the public.

Check in detail the responsibilities for line cleaning on site in section 4.3.4 of the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2005 (PDF, 1170.83 KB) and follow the manufacturer's instructions and employer's procedures.

The following safety precautions should be followed:

  • Water rather than air should be used for cleaning and only experienced and trained workers should carryout line cleaning.
  • The pipeline must not be dismantled for cleaning or other purposes until pressure is relieved. An air relief valve as well as the air entry point to the pipeline is needed to relieve pressure from the system.
  • The pipeline must be free of internal pressure before disconnecting a pipeline connection or fitting and must not be left unattended until then.
  • Remove rubber hose at the end of the pipeline and secure all parts of the pipeline to prevent uncontrolled movement during purging.
  • A device should be attached to the discharge end of the pipeline to catch the cleaning device while the concrete is still flowing.
  • If a concrete truck bowl is used, concrete lines should be prevented from moving. It is not safe to attach concrete lines to the concrete truck's ladder.
  • Workers should be removed from the discharge end while the concrete is under pressure and any workers involved should wear protective clothing.

Pump cleaning

Entanglement, crushing or amputation injuries can occur to workers working with a concrete hopper or pumping device. Workers should avoid placing any part of their body within the hopper. Safety precautions include:

  • providing a physical barrier at all times to protect people from the moving parts of a hopper
  • shutting down equipment, where cleaning or maintenance requires entry to the hopper, and using controls to remove any hydraulic or air pressure in order to prevent movement or rotation of parts of the engine
  • providing workers with instruction, training and supervision when concrete hoppers are cleaned and access to a support person in the immediate area.

Check in detail the responsibilities for pump cleaning on site in section 4.3.5 of the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2005 (PDF, 1170.83 KB) .

Last updated
13 July 2017