Floating Cover SafetyThe following instructions are for the safety of personel working on or near a floating cover.
Personnel walking on the surface of the floating cover while the reservoir is in service should be equipped with the following items:
- U.S. Coast Guard approved floatation vest. The reservoir owner should maintain an adequate supply of floatation vests on-site in a secure storage facility immediately accessible to all personnel;
- Two-way radio or other means of communication;
- A sharp knife with which to free oneself if accidentally trapped under the floating cover. The knife should be properly sheathed and secured to prevent personal injury and damage to the floating cover; and
- Footwear should have smooth rubber-soled bottoms and should be checked to ensure that no stones or sharp objects are carried onto the cover.
A minimum of 100 feet of rope attached to a suitable life ring should be readily available while work is taking place on the floating cover. Ropes or steps may be permanently positioned on slope in several places around the perimeter of the reservoir to aid personnel in exiting the reservoir. All electrical cords and connections used for maintenance and repairs on the floating cover should have an approved ground fault interrupt. Copies of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be posted on-site for all chemicals used in the repair of floating covers.
Approval of the reservoir supervisor or designate should be obtained before any work is performed on the reservoir floating covers. There should be no less than 2 workers on location when work of any nature is taking place on the floating cover. The two workers should maintain constant audio and visual contact. Each person should carry a means of communication to summon help, if necessary.
The surface of the floating cover membrane is extremely slippery when wet. Personnel should exercise caution when walking on reservoir slopes when the floating cover material is wet. Caution should also be exercised when walking on the floating cover when standing water is present. Personnel on the floating cover create localized depressions that will rapidly collect surface water. It is recommended that personnel walk on floats, where available, when standing water is present on the floating cover. Standing water on the floating cover may be indication of a hole or tear in the floating cover and should be approached with caution.
Personnel walking on the floating cover should exercise caution near the rainwater collection troughs. The depth of some troughs may be greater than six feet. Hydrostatic pressure from the water under the floating cover tends to push the walls of the trough closed and may make exit difficult.
Diving should be performed in accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations. A partial listing of diving regulations follows to assist the owner in the determination of those regulations that are applicable at each reservoir site. Owners should consult legal counsel or certified safety personnel for further assistance.
- 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart T
- CCR, Title 8, Subchapter 7, Group 26, Article 152
- CCR, Title 8, Subchapter 7, Group 26, Article 153
- ANSI/AWWA C652
The area beneath an inflated floating cover may be considered a confined space. Personnel entering the area beneath an inflated floating cover should adhere to all applicable local, state, and federal regulations. Owners should consult legal counsel or certified safety personnel for further assistance.
Personnel working on a floating cover should be adequately trained. Training should include the use of safety equipment and the execution of applicable safety procedures. Safety training should be conducted at least once per year.
California-Nevada Section, American Waterworks Association (1999) Reservoir Floating Cover Guidelines, California-Nevada Section, American Waterworks Association, Rancho Cucamonga, CA