The Dangers Of Pressure Washing And How To Stay Safe


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2014, an estimated 6,057 people went to the emergency room with injuries related to pressure washer use, and 14% of those ER visits led to additional hospitalization. High-pressure washer injuries are not to be underestimated.

A high-pressure washer machine can cause cuts, bruises, or even more severe injuries if not used correctly. Pressure washer injuries can be extremely dangerous because even a superficial skin laceration can allow contaminated fluid to get deep into the tissue and cause infection. Wounds that seem insignificant may delay a person from seeking treatment and increase the risk of infection, disability, or amputation.

One example of this that we've seen is a young and inexperienced worker who was using a high-pressure (400 psi) water sprayer to remove mud off sidewalks and streets after heavy rainfall. This was his first time performing the task. He was wearing rubber boots provided by his employer. While standing in the muddy area, he ran the high-pressure water over his foot. The spray penetrated the rubber boot and skin, injecting dirty water deep into skin tissues and exposing the tendons in his foot.

Without treatment, the emergency room physician stated that he may have lost his foot or died due to infection. The worker was admitted to the hospital and endured three surgeries, including skin grafts. After a month of hospitalization and six months of physical therapy, the worker is expected to return to work with permanent impairment.