Health & Safety

Vivax-Metrotech Health & Safety: Using, Maintaining and Handling Sewer Camera Systems and Sondes

This is an important HEALTH & SAFETY WARNING regarding the precautions that should be taken by those employees and/or users involved in the use, maintenance or storage or handling of CCTV inspection systems (sewer cameras), Sondes  and other products used in or around sewers and drains. This document is intended as primarily for employees of Vivax-Metrotech and its affiliates - however it is a good guide for companies with no policy. If your company has a policy, or there is applicable National, Federal, state or local laws, guidelines, recommendations or recommendations by professional organizations please adhere to those.

People Effected
People involved in the following activities:

  • Users CCTV (sewer cameras) & Sondes
  • Those performing "On site" sales demonstrations
  • Those unpacking, packing, handling  of equipment that has been used in a sewer/drain
  • Those cleaning used camera systems
  • Those involved in the maintenance of used camera systems

Sewers, drains and equipment used within them represent a considerable risk of infection, from a wide range of diseases carried by or associated with human or animal waste products. They include but are not limited to:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Skin infections
  • Tetanus and Polio
  • Hepatitis
  • Eye infections
  • Weil's disease
  • Respiratory illness 

These diseases are generally transmitted by:

  • Ingestion directly, or from hand to mouth
  • Cuts, open wounds, skin infections, or puncture wounds
  • Via the eye (generally from air borne particles, or hand to eye contact)
  • Inhalation

The best defence against infection is as follows:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Inoculations
  • Equipment
  • Work practice

Personal Hygiene

  • DO NOT touch eyes, mouth or face until after thoroughly disinfecting hands
  • DO NOT eat, drink, smoke until after thoroughly disinfecting hands
  • Ensure any skin infections, wounds or sores are covered thoroughly by waterproof dressings. If in doubt do not handle equipment
  • Use barrier cream to reduce risks of contaminants penetrating skin
  • Use disinfectant  on hands and contaminated areas after completion
  • Use moisturizing cream generally to keep skin in good condition (avoiding chaps/small cracks)
  • If cut in any way, clean with disinfectant and seek medical attention where appropriate

Vivax-Metrotech advises that all Users and people involved in the handling and maintenance of sewer cameras and Sondes have as a minimum the following inoculations (mandatory for Vivax-Metrotech employees)

  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B (although generally spread via contact with blood or body fluids this virus can survive in some waste products for a period of time)

PLEASE NOTE  - Employees at risk that work in markets outside of the USA and Europe must also be inoculated against Polio - this is almost eradicated in the USA & Europe, but present in other regions.

PLEASE NOTE - Always check for any specific risks in the areas that you travel, risks can be associated with the "season" or specific countries. If in doubt get inoculated and advise Vivax-Metrotech (> <) to amend this document.

PLEASE NOTE - There are risks associated with some inoculations/vaccines. If in doubt regarding the management of the health & safety risk and that of the risk of vaccines - should be discussed with a medical professional.

The best form of defence against infection is not to come in contact with the contaminated material. Always:

  • Use rubber or latex gloves - to prevent skin contamination
  • Wear safety eye glass - to protect against airborne matter or splashed liquids, (and to avoid rubbing eyes)
  • Wear face mask - to protect against airborne matter or splashed liquids
  • Wear overalls designed for the purpose, or at minimum clothes that will stop contaminants reaching the skin
  • Use disinfectant and/or disinfectant wipes to clean up

Work Practice
Much of this is covered by the Personal Hygiene and Equipment sections, however these addition actions must be followed:

  • NEVER enter a manhole or access chamber. These environments require gas monitoring equipment, and special training. There may be poisonous or explosive gases present.
  • Whenever an access chamber is opened there should be appropriate pedestrian or traffic management procedures in place. This is the responsibility of the sewer owner or manager. DO NOT undertake a demonstration unless appropriate steps are taken to ensure yours and the public's safety.
  • DO NOT smoke or consume substances that may affect your senses such as alcohol, drugs or certain medication before or during a demonstration or near a chamber or while working with this equipment.
  • Always pressure wash and/or disinfectant after use and before storage/ transportation.
  • DO NOT transport contaminated equipment in the passenger area of a car.
  • If transported in a family  car - always line the trunk/boot with plastic, and disinfect the area when the equipment is removed.
  • If storing at home or in a garage - after cleaning and disinfecting keep in a sturdy plastic bag, and keep away from children or other family members (NEVER store without cleaning first).
  • All rags or wipes used to be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of correctly (where appropriate to your company procedure).
  • Despite the cleaning and disinfecting of the products it is recommended that once used they are always stored in sturdy, sealed plastic bags. This also applies to sub assemblies of systems such as camera modules, springs etc.

PLEASE NOTE -  If you see or perceive a risk that has not been identified or has not been covered by this document please advise by email to > <

Steve Benzie/ Andrew Hoare
2007/12/29 - updated 2009/12/12

Much of the information in this document originated from "Guidance on the health hazards of work involving exposure to sewage in the water industry" published by "Water, UK". Other useful sources of information are < > and
 < > Priced or free publications are available from <>