There are many different types of injuries that can occur while using a pressure washer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 6,057 people went to an emergency room with injuries related to pressure washer use in 2014. While the pressure of the water can be considered the biggest exposure to risk during this work task, there are certainly many more hazards to be considered.
Hazards and Injuries Associated With Pressure Washing
Hose/ connection failure
Slips, trips, falls
Safeguards to Prevent Pressure Washing Injuries
Set up your work area where other people are not in the line of fire of the water stream or flying debris.
Use a longer wand that makes it hard for the individual who is using the pressure washer to make contact with their own body. However, weigh the pros and cons of using a longer wand if the task is being done over a long period of time which may lead to repetitive stress or sprain injuries.
When using a pressure washer that is also supplied with heat, do not turn it all the way up. Using heat can be more effective to remove debris; however it also creates the opportunity for a burn.
Maintain good housekeeping. Keep the area free of trip hazards. Remove excess mud to prevent slip injuries.
Wear the proper PPE. Depending on what is being cleaned and the power of the pressure washer will dictate what exact PPE is needed. A good start is rain gear, safety toe boots, gloves, safety glasses, and face shield.
Never use a pressure washer to spray off yourself or your boots.
Never use zero tips. These tips are usually painted red. Choose a tip with a wider angle of spray to reduce the chance of a severe injury if the stream makes contact with the body.
Consider all of the risks of pressure washing and what steps you need to take to protect yourself and the others around you. While the main hazard considered is the pressure of the water, there are many more secondary hazards that could lead to the actual injury.