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Safe Pressure Washer Operations Can Prevent Injury

Pressure washer machines that are powerful enough to strip away dirt and grease from equipment are also powerful enough to inflict serious damage on people and property.

Pressure WasherBecause water is under high pressure when exiting a pressure washer nozzle, the force and compression of the water can cause damage to the eyes or skin. Close contact with the skin will abrade away the skin layer by layer, possibly causing infection and scarring if not immediately and properly treated.

Where an indoor faucet has a pressure of about 45 PSI (pounds per square inch), industrial pressure washers range from 1,500 to 5,000 PSI. The more powerful a pressure washer, the quicker it cleans an area, but the more dangerous it is to operate.

Pressure washer operators should always wear protective clothing and equipment, including:

  • Goggles for eye protection
  • Gloves, and
  • Leather boots, preferably with toe protection.

When operating a pressure washer, use one with a quick-release trigger gun, which immediately shuts off water flow from the nozzle when the trigger is released.

Electric pressure washers should also have a ground-fault circuit interrupter. If there is a loose electrical connection in the pressure washer power system, the electrical current may take an alternative path to the ground through the user, resulting in serious injuries or death. The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as one-fortieth of a second.

Only use gas-powered pressure washer outside because the engines generate deadly carbon monoxide.

Some pressure washers use hot water in addition to pressure for cleaning. Hot water pressure washers must have a temperature control switch to ensure safe operations and to prevent burning or injuring the operator.

While most pressure washers have rupture discs, its best to check with the supplier to ensure that your system is also equipped with one.  A rupture disc is a high-pressure safety device that relieves water pressure if the system’s pressure exceeds its limits, which could damage the equipment and possibly injure the operator.

For more information about renting and safely using a pressure washer on your next job, contact Neff Rental at 888-709-NEFF, or visit

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