PRESSURE washing is a practical and highly effective washing method for a number of applications but, as is the case with many mechanised instruments, comes with its fair share of risk.
That’s according to Hawk Pumps, manufacturers and distributors of high-pressure pumps and accessories, including high-pressure washing machines.
“Some machines are designed to work at 1000bar of pressure. That equates to 14500 pounds per square inch, which could even sever a limb,” the company said in a statement. “It’s essential to bear the safety risks in mind as water is dangerous if misused at high pressure.”
It offered the 10 tips to make high-pressure washing as safe as possible.
- Always be mindful of other people’s safety. Never point a high-pressure gun at anyone and don’t assume that it is safe when switched off. This is when it is at its most dangerous. The hose remains at maximum pressure and when the trigger is engaged and can release with brute force.
- Protect your feet. Wear closed shoes when operating a high-pressure cleaning machine, as it can penetrate the soft skin at the top of the foot.
- Machines are not toys. Don’t play around with them under any circumstances.
- Protect your face with safety goggles or a clear plastic face shield. If the pressure causes the lance to whip around, you could lose an eye. High-pressure hoses work surfaces loose, and they can quickly bounce back and cause injury.
- Hot water machines can reach up to 90 degrees Celsius. That is almost boiling point. Always wear gloves when working with hot water machines.
- Make sure to select the correct nozzle for your pressure requirements. The incorrect nozzle will cause too much backpressure. If you adjust the unloader instead of the nozzle, the excessive pressure will damage the pump or motor when it is switched off.
- Don’t be fooled by tiny leaks. Never try to stop them with your hand, as the tiny jet stream is powerful. It can severely damage your hand. In extreme instances, it has even caused a hand to inflate.
- Always ensure easy access to the off switch in case of emergencies. It is advisable to have a second person on standby when operating under extreme pressure.
- When tube cleaning, mark the hose clearly about one or two metres from the nozzle. This will warn the operator that the hose is about to come out of the tube as it is withdrawn. Extreme caution must be exercised as the hose can whip around and injure the operator. The injury can be fatal.
- Always ensure that a well-stocked, clearly labelled first aid kit is always easily accessible.