June 6, 2019 | Susan Napier-Sewell

How far away is death?

How far away is death when a job involves pressure washing?

Consumer Reports tells us that close to 6,057 people went to the emergency room in 2014 because of pressure washer accidents (statistics courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission). An additional 14 percent of those people had to return to the hospital as a result of complications from pressure washing alone.

What’s so dangerous about a stream of water?

A lot can go wrong. Here are some risks that you should be aware of:

  • The nature of high-pressure water: A pressure washer is nearly 50 times stronger than your average garden hose. The pressurized stream of water can cut through many different materials, including heavy-duty boots. If you get distracted or lose control of the hose, you may find yourself with a large hospital bill instead of a clean house.
  • Risk of electric shock: Most pressure washers have 20-30 feet of power cable, making them susceptible to kinks and cracks. If water winds up in one of these cracks, there is a high risk of causing an electric shock or the possibility of an electric fire. Pressure washers should only be used with an electric socket that’s protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter. This will eliminate the risk of electric shock.
  • High-pressure water can ruin your surfaces: Besides possessing the ability to seriously cut oneself, pressure washers also have the ability to ruin your house. If you don’t apply pressure evenly, you might end up breaking seals or blasting the paint off your siding.
  • The risk of deeper damage to skin: Because of high-pressured water, it’s worth mentioning that a seemingly small cut can go a long way. What might seem as a small puncture can actually signify deeper damage. The chemicals from the pressure washer can be transmitted directly into your bloodstream, resulting in a bacterial infection or worse.*

*The information and image above are from AAA Window Solutions, why-pressure-washing-is-a-dangerous-diy-project/.

Be sure to read this alert from Consumer Reports if you’re contemplating doing some pressure washing.


Accident, How Far Away Is Death?, Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis
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