From California to New York, pressure washing poses its own specific safety dangers. Larger projects bring more logistics and liabilities , so amateurs should NEVER attempt professional scale projects and professionals must be extra cautious when executing big jobs. Amateurs don’t realize how dangerous high pressure water can be, or know the irreversible damages rookie mistakes can cause.
Here are a few pressure washing safety tips to keep you and your crew safe.
Expert Pressure Washing Safety Tips
- Avoid spraying windows, electrical components, service feeds, wires and living creatures. The spray from a power washer is strong enough to rip through skin and sensitive equipment. Never point a power washer at yourself or another person.
- Always follow safety instructions in your pressure washer’s operation manual.
- Wear close-toed, rubber-soled shoes and safety goggles when operating a power washer. Some circumstances also demand a protective suit. Ear protection is also wise, especially when operating a gas washer, and when working in cold conditions. Finally, many power washing safety experts recommend wearing protective gloves as well. Breathing masks are needed if working with toxic fumes and substances.
- NEVER leave a running power washer unattended.
- Take a strong stance and hold the pressure washer with both hands. Otherwise the power of your power washer could knock you back.
- Release high pressure by squeezing the spray gun trigger before shutting off the engine. This will prevent the next user from being surprised at the excess pressure upon startup.
- Do not use gas-powered washers in enclosed spaces; doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure your circuit breaker is working properly. For safety, a pressure washer must be properly grounded. Also keep extension cords out of standing water, and ensure you have an extension cord that’s properly rated for your machine and for wet applications.
- Before each project, check that cleaning equipment, ladders, wet vacuums, and other tools are working properly, and that they’re clean.
- Look for hazards on the job site. Before diving into any cleaning project, it’s best to take a look around the area and eliminate any potential hazards, such as slippery floors. You’ll also need to post material safety data sheets on the job site.
- Include harnesses, lifelines, and safety belts when working in high locations. Double check that this equipment is working prior to each ascent.
- Find the locations of fire extinguishers in your work space prior to firing up your power washer.
- Look out for environmental hazards, such as extreme temperatures, icy surfaces, etc. Make sure workers are appropriately prepared for the weather, by wearing loose fitting clothing, hats, and sunscreen on hot days, for instance.
- Roof work has its own set of hazards, including falls and extreme temperatures. NEVER work on roofs during electrical storms, high winds, or hail storms. If you must work in the rain, ensure your machine is rated for it. And consider that heat spells and cold snaps are even more intense on an unprotected roof. Cover skylights on roofs, so workers are aware of their locations and are less likely to fall into the building.
- When refilling the gas tank, be careful. Make sure the engine is off, and refill slowly to avoid dripping gas on the hot engine.
Make sure your technicians are ready for work, wearing appropriate clothing and operating power washers in a safe manner. Take time before each project to train our pressure washing crews on safety issues.