How to Safely Use a Pressure Washer
HOW TO SAFELY USE A PRESSURE WASHER
Before you start, it is vital that you are properly kitted out to use such powerful machinery. Even if you are doing your cleaning during the hot summer months, never wear open-toed sandals or sliders and certainly never, ever wear heels. All parts of your feet should always be covered.
Hands should be protected by work gloves and swap T-shirts and shorts for thicker fabrics covering arms and legs. Wear goggles or a face visor if you have them and consider ear defenders for petrol pressure washers.
Don’t flick that ignition switch without a quick engine check on your pressure washer. Check the engine oil (for petrol) and look for indications of burning around electrical components (for electric).
If you need an electrical extension cable for your washer, be sure that it is suitable for the machine you intend to use and the job you want to complete. Also, try and get a waterproof extension cable to add protection.
According to Electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk, you should also be sure that “any socket you plan to use to plug in your pressure washer should have an RCD (residual current device) Protection” a “life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires”.
The organisation also suggests that electrical products or sockets should be ‘properly covered and ideally waterproof if they are going to be within your spraying areas.
Before you begin, it is important to check your work area for trip hazards.
Remove anything from the area that could make you lose your balance; trip hazards such as bricks, large stones, garden furniture, gardening equipment, and, of course, the decking seats and tables.
In addition, ensure young children are indoors – they can watch you through the window and keep pets indoors too. If a child or pet is hit with the blast from a pressure washer this could cause serious injury.
Don’t forget that, once you are plugged into a power source, you will have cables crossing your work area. Ensure that your socket and the connection cable will always be behind you and keep moving forwards.
Quite obviously, pressure washers use a high volume of water, and, depending upon your landscape, water will settle. Think about this when choosing appropriate footwear. Good quality wellington boots or sturdy work boots will allow your feet to travel safely.
If you are walking forwards, you should be visually aware or gathering surface water or slip areas caused by mud, grass or vegetation.
Another reason for wearing appropriate protection when using a pressure washer is that it may shield you and your skin from potentially harmful chemicals.
Whilst cleaning chemicals such as detergent may appear to be harmless, if you have any cracks in your skin or cuts from minor gardening scrapes, chemical cleaning ingredients may find their way into your skin and cause severe irritation.
For similar reasons, eyes, mouth, and nose should also be protected.
Pressure washing should never be done during social gatherings at your home and especially when alcohol is nearby.
Always keep your pressure washer and its related equipment locked safely away out of the way of visitors and children.
Even though your domestic pressure washer may not be huge, the high-pressure stream it blasts outwards, can and will cause very serious damage to the skin and soft tissue.
Never, ever point a pressure washer at anyone, humans, or animals. The possible injuries are potentially devastating.
Consider asking another adult to watch you as you pressure wash your way around your property. Watching from a safe distance, your very own ‘safety officer’ can lookout for potential danger spots as you work and, of course, be there to help if there is an accident.
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