Pressure Washing Safety Talk
You may be surprised to learn that every year, thousands of people go to the ER for injuries related to pressure washer use. The force at which the water comes out of a pressure washer is very strong. In fact, some may not realize how strong it is until it has already caused damage to their property or themselves.
In this toolbox talk, we’ll cover hazards and injuries to look out for when using a pressure washer, as well as our best practices for staying safe.
Pressure Washing Hazards & Injuries
There are many different types of hazards and injuries that can occur while using a pressure washer. Some of the most common are:
Hose connection failures
Loss of digits
Pressure Washing Safety Best Practices
There are many different uses for pressure washers on a construction site. Despite the benefits, pressure washers can cause serious damage and personal injury if not operated safely. When using a pressure washer, make sure you follow these safety precautions:
Wear Appropriate PPE
Just about all jobs that are done on a construction site have PPE that is designed to keep workers safe when operating different machinery. What you’re cleaning and what pressure you’re using to clean it will dictate exactly what PPE is necessary. However, at the least you should wear:
Safety toe boots
Rain jacket and gear
Never Use A Pressure Washer On Yourself Or Anyone Else
A pressure washer should never be used to clean off people or their clothing items. The pressure that is put out from these machines is very powerful and can injure you easily. Pressure washer wounds often appear benign at first, but these injuries can result in serious injuries like infection, disability and amputation.
Isolate Your Work Area
When setting up your work area, make sure others are not in the line of fire of the spray of the hose and any debris that may fly with it.
Never Use Zero Tips
Zero tips, often marked red, have a very narrow spray and come out with more force than other tips. Because of that, they tend to cause the most damage if the stream makes contact with the body. Choosing a tip with a wider angle of spray reduces the chance of a severe injury.
When working in any situation, practicing good housekeeping is the key to safety. Pressure washing is no different. To prevent slip, trip, and fall injuries for yourself and others, be sure to keep the area free of hazards and remove excess mud. Also make sure the hose and equipment stay out of any direct walking paths.
Use A Longer Wand
The wand of the hose is the hard plastic or metal part that does not bend. When the wand is longer, it makes it virtually impossible for an employee to spray themselves with the stream that comes out. This is a good idea to use as a safety precaution, but also may not be best for people who will be pressure washing for long periods of time, as it can be more strenuous on their bodies.
Use The Correct Heat Temperature
Some pressure washers allow you to use heated water. This is a great opportunity to use when trying to remove the tough areas that you are cleaning. It is important that you use extreme caution when doing this, as it can get extremely hot and cause burns to the operator or someone sprayed with the water.
Always Use Caution When Pressure Washing
For the safety of you and those around you, always use caution when operating a pressure washer on the jobsite. Be mindful of the hazards and injuries associated with this piece of machinery and remember the safety precautions discussed above. Should you have any questions about operating your pressure washer, refer to your owner manual or ask you supervisor.
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