HOW TO ONBOARD NEW BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTERS

For water utility companies, backflow prevention testing companies, and plumbing companies, hiring and onboarding new backflow prevention testers is important to ensuring the safety of public water systems. If you hire and onboard an individual without the proper knowledge and training, you could be looking at a potential backflow testing error that may lead to cross-contamination of your community’s water system and corresponding liability.

If you want to make sure your area’s water stays safe and drinkable while minimizing your organization’s risk, you must properly hire and onboard your new backflow prevention testers. To help you do just that, here are some general tips to help your new testers become familiar with their new positions.

4 New Hire Orientation Tips for Backflow Prevention Testers

1. VERIFY THE EMPLOYEE’S BACKFLOW PREVENTION TESTER CERTIFICATION

In most states and/or cities, testers must be licensed and certified to perform backflow device testing. It is important you understand the specific requirements for backflow testing in your area and ensure each of your testers meet these criteria.  This may include completing a state and/or city approved backflow prevention assembly tester training and certification program.  Be aware there may also be continuing education coursework and/or take a recertification tests to renew certifications about every three to five years.  In recent years, several states have changed their certification requirements so be sure your entire team is update to date.

Before hiring a new tester, you should verify that the individual’s license and certification is current. Contact the association who issued the person’s backflow prevention tester license and certification to confirm it’s valid. 

2. ASSESS THE EMPLOYEE’S KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ABOUT CROSS-CONNECTION DEVICES AND TESTING PROCEDURES

As an employer, you may also wish to test your new hire’s knowledge and skills before sending them out in the field to complete backflow prevention testing for your customers. Some ways you can evaluate your new employee’s expertise are to have them:

  • Complete a written and/or oral examination about cross-connection devices and testing procedures. 

  • Complete actual testing demonstrations on various backflow prevention devices in the presence of a more experienced backflow tester.

Also, you should make sure your new tester is familiar with your state’s regulations and local codes on the cross-connections and control of backflow to your city’s water supply, especially if the individual has recently moved to your area. 

3. PROVIDE EMPLOYEE SAFETY TRAINING

Employee safety training ensures your employees follow safe work procedures. Training can include:

  • The correct, safe use of equipment. Backflow testing requires your workers to use various hand tools. These tools can be dangerous when they’re not used correctly. Therefore, you should provide your employees with training on how to use them safely. 

  • The necessity of wearing personal protective equipment. Unfortunately, on-the-job injuries can occur, leading to serious bodily harm and even death. Therefore, you should encourage your employees to protect themselves. They should wear protective equipment, like gloves, safety glasses, overalls, and boots with reinforced toecaps, when on the job. While this equipment may not prevent all injuries, they can minimize the extent of the injury. 

4. TRAIN NEW TESTERS ON ACCURATE RECORD KEEPING

Good records are vital to help ensure cross-connection control devices are in good working order and to protect utilities and testing companies from legal liability. For this reason, backflow testers must record accurate and complete test reports on all cross-connection devices for each customer. Copies of the test report must be distributed to the customer and other appropriate entities within a specific timeframe as mandated by state and/or local regulations. 

To ensure all new testers are familiar with these test reports and the information they’re required to record, you should provide them with sample test forms and procedures on how to fill the documents out correctly and completely.

More and more water utilities are leveraging software to assist in the management of their cross-connection control programs, allowing them to dramatically increase their efficiency while eliminating illegible reports and duplicate data entry.  Technology makes it easy for them to ensure devices are tested regularly and simplifies the process of generating notice and compliance letters.  Where these systems are implemented, be sure your testers are knowledgeable and compliant with the water utility’s requirement to have reports submitted electronically.

FormLink Systems Can Help Improve Your New Testers’ Productivity and Accuracy

FormLink Systems wants to help your backflow testers perform their jobs more efficiently and correctly. Our backflow testing software helps organize your testing information, so it’s easier for your testers to monitor your customers’ cross-connection devices and record their data. Your tester won’t have to make sure they have enough paper forms to complete each job. 

At FormLink Systems, we want to help you and your testers be more efficient while providing your customers with excellent service. With these onboarding tips, your backflow testers should be up to speed in no time and ready to complete their jobs skillfully.

If you’re ready to improve your cross connection control program with the right inspection software, contact FormLink Systems today at 844-367-6565. We would love to demonstrate how our software technology can maximize your backflow testers’ productivity. Save yourself, your testers, and your customers from potential testing-related headaches with our affordable software solutions for your business.