Pressure washing can be an amazing and effective way of getting things clean in a fast and efficient manner.
But we must not forget that these machines can cause serious harm if not used in the correct manner.
Here are 11 safety tips you should consider when using your pressure washer.
1. Wear safety goggles
Due to the extremely high pressure that pressure washers work at you need to be aware that debris like stones or concrete, mud, and grit will be projected and airborne once we start cleaning our desired equipment.
This can become a very high-risk hazard if you are not wearing something to protect your eyes.
Safety goggles or glasses help to create a barrier between your eyes and the debris that is projected from the equipment you are cleaning, minimizing any injury to the eyes.
When washing surfaces like a deck, small pieces of wood can be sent flying in all different directions.
2. Wear ear protection
Pressure washers are part of the garden equipment category when it comes to noise tables, this puts them in the 75 – 105 decibel (DB) sound range.
Over prolonged use this can have a serious effect on a user’s hearing and sound protection is advised as with is the same with using petrol lawnmowers, strimming equipment, or hedge trimmers.
3. Dust Mask
The very area in which you are using the pressure washer can become dusty, especially in dry conditions.
We would advise using a dust mask to inhibit inhaling any dust particles.
There are many variations of dust masks in the market place, but you should always make sure that the mask you use has the safety standard for your country.
4. Trip hazards
Pressure washers use hoses for the supply of water, they also need to be plugged into a power supply.
The pressure washer wand is also connected to a flexible-hose that can sometimes come in varying lengths.
When power washing it can become quite easy to not look at where you are walking and be more focused on what you are washing.
This can quickly become a hazardous tripping environment, we suggest stopping every so often and checking that your current area is free of cables, hoses, and other tripping hazards.
5. Electric hazards
Pressure washers run on electric and so they need to be plugged into a power supply.
Water and electricity are not a good mixture and when mixed can cause serious injury or even death.
When using your pressure washer make sure that you have the power supply plugged into a waterproof outside plug or away from any moisture and when using the pressure washer make sure you dont spray anything that is plugged in and turned on.
Water is a fast conductor of electricity, if you have any doubts unplug the equipment that you are cleaning and turn off all power.
6. Store away detergent
Some pressure washers allow you to make a mixture of detergent and/or bleach allowing you to clean even really stubborn marks and dirt.
Unfortunately, detergents and bleach are highly toxic and can cause damage to equipment, serious illness, or even death if ingested.
You should always make sure that you properly seal your detergent/bleach and stow it away in a locked cupboard or high up so children can’t get access to them.
7. Never use on other people or animals
You should never point a pressure washer at another person or animal as this can cause blindness, burns, or even life-threatening injuries.
8. Keep serviced
You should always keep your pressure washer clean and serviced, this stops any malfunctions like low pressure or damage to the machine and its hoses.
The hose that is located between the pressure washer and the wand is likely to be braided with steel to keep the hose from getting damaged when trod on or ran over.
This can sometimes become exposed if the hose hasn’t been cleaned down.
Inlets and outlets should be cleaned and checked for any faults as these are some of the points where high forces of pressure are being exerted.
If you notice that some of the rubber washers have perished, make sure to replace them straight away.
9. Never use whilst on a ladder
Due to the extreme forces that pressure washers can exert using one on a ladder is never a good idea.
Pressure washers can throw a person back, especially when using one quite close to the object you are trying to clean.
A pressure washer can easily throw a person from an elevated surface.
If you have to get to an area that is higher up you should use scaffolding, erected by a specialist.
You can also get extensions for certain pressure washers allowing you to reach higher areas.
10. Confined space
Never use diesel or gas-powered pressure washers in a confined space. This can cause serious illness and even cause death.
If you have to use one in a confined space, make sure you have a good airflow by opening windows and doors, if this isn’t possible you should use an electric pressure washer or breathing apparatus.
Never pressure wash in a confined space without telling someone you are there and always take regular breaks.
11. Alert others
Make sure that you let other people aware that you are pressure washing.
This can be done by displaying signage in the area you are washing, signage should especially be used around blind spots.
You can use hazard warning tape to create a “no go” area around the perimeter of the washing area. Remember to take into account the distance objects that could be projected.
Pressure washers can be purchased from most hardware stores. And because of this people sometimes forget how lethal one can be.
A pressure washer can be a dangerous piece of equipment if the operator doesn’t know how to use one safely.
Remember to use these safety tips into account the next tie you use your pressure washer and you should have a hazard and injury-free experience.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s safety manual that came with your pressure washer.