Plant & Works Engineering
Water jetting training goes up a level
Published:  02 February, 2021

The first competency qualification for water jetting has been launched in a move the Water Jetting Association describes as a game changer.

The new Level 2 Water Jetting Technician Certificate is accredited by the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE) and regulated by Ofqual.

It has been created by the Water Jetting Association (WJA), the member organisation for the UK water jetting industry, to support the upskilling of operatives, improving productivity and safety.

John Jones, vice-president of the WJA and chairman of its Training and Safety Committee, said: “Our new level 2 qualification automatically qualifies the holder for a CSCS card.

“It sets the bar for water jetting training at a new, higher level, and has already been welcomed by contractors and service users. We believe it’s a game changer.”

Water jetting is increasingly used in construction, building refurbishment and maintenance for a range of tasks, including surface cleaning, drain and sewer jetting, material cutting and hydrodemolition.

It has important benefits over other methodologies. Water jetting is highly sustainable. It can be used without chemicals. It significantly reduces hand and arm vibration risks linked with mechanical devices, such as jackhammers.

Unlike shot blasting, it does not create large amounts of waste that needs to be disposed of, usually in landfill. Hydrodemolition of concrete can be faster than mechanical techniques.

Water jetting does also present risks. A jet of water at 7 bar (100psi) of pressure can penetrate skin, causing a fluid injection injury. Consider, then, that even pressure washers can be bought that deliver jets at up to 207 bar (3,000psi) and that ultra high water jetting reaches 3,000 bar (43,500psi).

The new Level 2 Water Jetting Technician Certificate is designed to eliminate, reduce and control the risks associated with this level of performance, said John Jones.

“For the first time, it creates a Level 2 water jetting qualification that combines tested theoretical and practical learning with guided learning,” he added.

“It also clearly establishes water jetting as a skilled occupation, which we hope will help elevate the perception of the process within the many commercial and industrial sectors that our members operate in.”

The qualification has two parts. First, candidates must undertake directed study by attending and passing the WJA City & Guilds accredited Safety Awareness course.

This is a one-day class-based course that covers key aspects of safe water jetting operation, including types of equipment, site set up, risk assessment, and emergency procedures.

Delegates must then pass two practical WJA training modules, both also City & Guilds accredited. The Surface Preparation module is mandatory, as this teaches the use of both semi-automatic and manual water jetting techniques. Delegates must then select one of three other modules: Drain and Sewer Cleaning, Tube and Pipe Cleaning, or Hydrodemolition.

By this time, delegates will have had 52 hours of structured learning. They then move on to a period of guided learning, using a WJA handbook to take them through four mandatory units and two optional ones.

This period of vocational assessment will be supervised by WJA training instructors and is expected to last for at least 122 hours, but it could be longer.

John Jones said: “Many service users already require water jetting operatives to have WJA jetting cards. I expect some to build this new competency qualification into their contract specifications as well.

“For the first time, they have an opportunity to select individuals and teams who have been through a rigorous and proven process to prove their ability to carry out water jetting safely, productively and consistently. There is no reason they won’t want to take it.”

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