Pressure Washer Dangers

patrick_g

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Water in the blood stream fatal? I thought the major component of blood was water.

I have been careful and lucky with my engine driven pressure washer. Used if for hours yesterday (barefoot) and was very conscious about controlling the direction of the "muzzle." A pressure washer can really give you a bad wound and is not to be used casually. You need to keep your mind on-task.

When I was in the service we used to get shots (immunizations and the like) from a high pressure gun instead of a needle. It was not like the painless "hypospray" as seen on "Star Trek." We were always cautioned to be sure to NOT MOVE or FLINCH when getting the shot as the tiny high pressure stream would slice you like a scalpel.

The good news, if there is any, regarding wounding yourself with a pressure washer is that tap water is not nearly so nasty as hydraulic fluid when injected into your flesh. The tissue damage from a pressure washer "incident" can be extreme and can happen so fast your reflexes can't save you.

Lets all be careful with these things.

Pat
 

Danno1

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You can most definitely die fr bubbles in your bloodstream. It's why SCUBA divers have to decompress after deep/long dives. Over here it's currently called "the bends". 100 years ago it was called "caisson disease" because of the workers digging the foundations for (I think) the Brooklyn Bridge. They would come up fr the pressurized caissons and the air would bubble out of their blood like CO2 out of Coke. Bending over seemed to help w the pain of a bubble lodged around the spinal column. Perhaps one of the doctors on here might care to elaborate.

Dunno what it's called in Holland/Europe.

.
 

tomd999

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Hiya,

Oil or paint injection is far worse. Not to make light of water injection because it also injects any substances on your skin and or bits of clothes into you. However most people that are injected in industrial situations lose a limb or a good portion of one if they survive.

I personally know people that have been injected with paint or oil. each lost a portion of an arm as they had to be amputated in order to stop the spread of the chemicals to organs which would have been fatal.

I treat a pressure washer wand like it's a loaded rifle, never pointing it at anything I don't want to kill because it has that potential, especially with children around. I have no idea why some marathons use them to spray down the runners when a simple twist of most nozzles will change it from wide spray to high pressure stream that can inject.

My 2 cents,

Tom
 

patrick_g

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Air embolisms are not fun but are also NOT water injection.

Dirty clothes going in with the water would not be a good thing but the origin of the comments was regarding how water is the major portioin of blood and adding water is not typically fatal. (like air may be.)

Down in the caisson celebrating a milestone of progress the champagne is opened and consumed by the celebrants but... it is pretty flat and NOT bubbly. Then when depressurizing to return to the surface all the celebrants start belching like it is going out of style.

A dive that normally requires no decompression, not even a "safety stop" can give you the bends if you fly too soon afterward as cabins are not pressurized to surface pressures.

Pat
 

Taylortractornut

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I do a demonstration of how powerful water streams are under pressure. My 4000psi Hot water steam cleaner has a quickchange nozzle. I have one for reaching eaves and for cutting greas and clay from undercarriages. Its a focused stream and I can stand 4 feet away from a large watermelon and slice it cleanly down the middle. Ive cut bricks and even uesd it to cut the chip and sealed road in front of my shop. I also cut a new fan belt off my dump truck with it when i forgot the tip I was using.
 

Flatheadyoungin

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a buddy of mine that uses sewer jetters would always talk about cutting 2x4's in half........this was years ago and i know the new ones will do more...........well, they use them to cut steel with in a cnc type machine....

I do a demonstration of how powerful water streams are under pressure. My 4000psi Hot water steam cleaner has a quickchange nozzle. I have one for reaching eaves and for cutting greas and clay from undercarriages. Its a focused stream and I can stand 4 feet away from a large watermelon and slice it cleanly down the middle. Ive cut bricks and even uesd it to cut the chip and sealed road in front of my shop. I also cut a new fan belt off my dump truck with it when i forgot the tip I was using.
 
   #18  

firedog

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Due to the possibility of fluid being injected into the skin, such injuries should probably be seen by a doctor, as they are different from ordinary cuts due to the fluid injection possibility, if I remember correctly. At least I've heard that from a few people plus the cautionary label on the pressure washer I have.

You're pretty much correct Sandman.
Water in the bloodstream = not fatal, not harmful, if it's done in the correct manner. ie; IV (the IV fluid of choice today is normal saline, but I can remember when it was either 9%NS or D5W (9% saline in water or 5% dextrose in water)). Contamination would be the key issue.
The problem with water injection is the trauma to the tissue, not to big an issue with lower pressure rigs (3000#) but in the high or ultrahigh pressure (H= 10-20K, UH= 40K) those injuries can be devestating. high pressure water can saturate the sub-cutaneous and muscle tissues (gets into the cellular and interstitial areas)
However, don't misunderstand me. A 2500# rig can still do a number on you.
 
   #19  

Danno1

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The machines that cut steel w water are called waterjet cutters. They run in excess of 60,000 PSI and inject an abrasive into the water stream just prior to the stream exiting the nozzle.

Oh ya, and they'll take your fingers off in the blink of an eye!

.
 
   #20  

arrow

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Years back I was hosing off a skidder with a #3800 pressure washer. As I was cleaning off the rear and holding onto the the rear chokers and chains, I attempted to whip them out of the way to clean behind them. The force of them coming back brought my hand in front of the wand and it proceeded to blow my finger nail right off. I mean the stream just grazed the front of my finger high enough on the finger to grab the 32nd of an inch exposed fingernail beyond the tip of the finger and 'Whoof" it was gone. I was surprised. I agree with the gentleman in regarding that wand as if it is a loaded gun. Also, it is probably a good idea to always use two hands on the wand at all times.
 
 
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