In an emergency the law demands you can stop your jetter quickly and you need an Emergency Stop button that’s accessible, recognisable, reliable and safe.
Yet even today not all manufacturers fit proper E-Stops to new machines, exposing the operator and anyone close by to serious injury.
Even when an E-Stop is fitted some of them don’t work in a safe manner. Obviously hitting the E-Stop should stop the machine but it should also prevent it from being dangerously re-started. The high pressure water jet should not come back on as soon as the engine starts and if you have a remote control system the engine should be returned to tickover and not fire up on full revs!
Although not strictly an E-Stop it is also worth checking how your jetter operates when in remote mode. If you stray outside the signal range of the radio handset or the battery loses charge whilst you are jetting, does the jet stream stop or does it continue to jet even though you have lost control! Of course it should stop, but not all of them do.
In fact any fault with the jetter control system should always make it safely shut down and prevent re-starting until the fault has been fixed – its called fail safe design.
Here are a few simple tips on how to spot a well-designed Emergency Stop System.
- Location, location, location: The E-Stop should be positioned for quick and easy access. Remember that the person using the E-Stop may not necessarily be familiar with the machines controls and they will almost certainly be in a rush!
- Looks are important! The colour of the emergency stop button is set by law. It should be red on a yellow background with a mushroom shaped head. There are a few exceptions but none in the jetting world.
- Action! The button must stay in the off position when you push it in and it must stay latched until it is intentionally released by the operator.