Pressure Washing Safety Toolbox Talk

Proper safety measures when pressure washing is important. Use this toolbox talk to inform your crews.

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Pressure Washing Safety Talk

Did you know that there is a high number of people who have severe injuries from pressure washing each year? In 2014, there were 6,057 people seen in the ER for injuries related to this piece of equipment. There are many risks that can be categorized with this machine to clean the outside areas of the property, the highest of the risks is the force of pressure that is behind the water. Associated Hazards and Injuries With Pressure Washing The force at which the water comes out of a pressure washing machine is very strong. Some may not realize how strong it is until it has already caused damage to their property or themselves. It is important to educate yourself on what the safe levels are to use when operating. Some of the injuries that can occur when you are using a pressure washer are:

  • Burns
  • Slips
  • Falls
  • Trips
  • Lacerations
  • Bruises
  • Hose failures
  • Hose connection failures
  • Flying debris
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Loss of digits
  • Safety Protocols To Prevent Injury While Pressure Washing

    There are many different reasons that pressure washing could be used on a construction site. Whether it is to clean up an area when the work is done or some other reason. Safety regulations should always be posted and understood by the employees who are operating this machine.

    Miscommunication and uneducated individuals are the most likely to be injured in these instances. Proper education and understandings of how these work are important to avoid injuries. Some of the safety precautions to take are:

    Wear Appropriate PPE

    Just about all jobs that are done on a construction site have PPE that is designed to keep you safe when operating different machinery or locations. The amount of pressure that you use to clean an area will depend on the area that is needing to be cleaned. It is also going to play a role in what type of PPE is necessary for you to wear. Some of the basic needs are:

  • Safety toe boots
  • Rain jacket and gear
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Face shield
  • 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 very easily. There have been reports of people losing fingers from the amount of pressure that comes out.

    Red Tips Should Never Be Used

    The tips that are colored red are known as zero tips, sometimes they are marked red, and sometimes they aren’t. These have a very narrow spray and come out with a little more force. These are at risk of causing the most damage to someone. Only use the ones that have a wider spray.

    Setting Up Your Equipment

    When you are getting all of your equipment out and ready to begin pressure washing, try to have your things in an area that is not in the way of others. This is going to help keep others safe from the spray of the hose and any debris that may fly with it.

    Try To Be As Neat As Possible

    When working in any situation, it is always safest to keep a tidy work area. When you are messy and leave things out, it leaves room for accidents to happen. Try to get the hose and equipment out of the direct area that is being walked on, this will help to avoid people or yourself tripping.

    A Longer Wand Is Best

    The wand of the hose is the hard plastic or metal part that does not bend. When the wand is longer, it can make 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. It can be more strenuous on them.

    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.

    Risks To Your Skin When Pressure Washing

    If you are pressure washing at a high PSI, you can do very serious damage to yourself if the spray hits you. If you are not wearing PPE and you hit your skin, you can create a bad wound. You should immediately turn off the pressure washer and call 911 if this occurs.

    On your job site, there should be someone who is in charge when injuries occur. You or call for someone near you to get help. While you are waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, try to keep the wound covered with a clean cloth and apply pressure.

    Basic First Aid Knowledge

    It is a good idea for everyone to have basic first aid knowledge when working on a construction site. These classes are fairly simple and only last one day or one afternoon. You never know who is going to be around when an emergency happens, so having every employee knowing some basic first aid steps can help.

    If someone is injured on the job, they will know the right steps to help them until paramedics get there. Some of the things that can be learned in first aid courses are:

  • Wound care
  • CPR
  • How to use the items found in a first aid kit
  • Who to contact in an emergency
  • How to help someone who is choking
  • How to use an AED
  • How to help someone with a burn
  • Always Use Caution When Pressure Washing

    To be safe and cautious of yourself and those around you while working, you should always use caution when operating a pressure washer. There can be serious injuries that are endured from the strong pressure that comes out of these machines. Always make sure that you have the proper training and knowledge before you begin to operate a pressure washing machine.

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