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Friday, November 27, 2009

Pressure Washing Accidents By Homeowners!

Here are a few stories of homeowners who decided to try doing their own Pressure Washing and found out first hand how dangerous Power Washers can be if you don't know how to handle one.

Power Washer Accident
There's been an accident in my family that has left us on edge.
My parents are retired and living their dream life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They built their dream home which includes a boat dock/lift.
My dad has been having difficulty navigating his boat into the lift because of the hurricanes that have happened over the last year or so, which had brought in lots of sand that interfered with the motor while maneuvering the boat in.
Dad has a power washer. He was using it last Thursday to clean off his dock and a very bad light bulb went off in his head. He came up with the idea to hop in the water (about chest deep), with the base of the power washer on the dock and the nozzle in his hand...he would blow the sand away from the dock. He went into the house, put on his bathing suit and a pair of tennis shoes without socks then headed back to the dock.
After working for quite awhile, he lost his balance (not falling completely, just a slip that he corrected and remained standing)...in the midst of correcting his balance, he swished the flow of the power washer over the top of his shoe. He said he instantly felt nauseous but decided to continue his work and finish his job of removing the sand from his dock area.
By the time he got back to the house, the pain was horrible....he took of his shoe and found his foot had swollen more than half its size. It was bleeding from a cut on his second toe close to the base of the toe. My mother had him wash out the wound, soak his foot in Epsom's salt and then used mecuricom (I know I'm spelling that wrong...when I was a kid, we called it "monkey blood").
To make a long story a little shorter, my dad refused my mom's request to go to the hospital, choosing to wait until the following morning to go to the Dr. The Dr. against his better judgement, allowed my dad to stay home through the weekend if he promised to stay off his feet with his foot propped up. He had an appointment to go back to the dr. on Monday afternoon. He was given shots of antibiotics, etc. On Monday, after seeing the dr. again, it was decided he should go to the hospital to see a specialist...this didn't happen until the next morning. Because of the delay, there was horrible infection as the power washer had pushed in alot of sand and yuck from the dirty, murky water by the dock.
We've been sick as it looked as if my dad would have to have part of his foot amputated. (My dad is totally passionate about golf, which he has recently began playing again, looking forward to July when my husband and all our kids will be flying down for a visit...my husband is an avid golfer.
The main reason I'm even posting about this is because I believe that most people dont realize how dangerous power washers can be. Before my dad's accident, his neighbor had been washing off his deck while barefoot....accidentally washing over his bare toes breaking the bones of three of them.
Just last week my husband was pressure washing our driveway and my 13 yr. old daughter asked if she could do it saying that her dad had let her at his house...Kem said no, that he didn't think it was safe....but we really had no idea.
The specialist working with my dad said that he's seen so many pressure washer accidents and that the parts of the body that come in contact with the spray are basically pulverized leaving all tissue, muscle, etc., mush. He said that my dad's foot (the three toes in the middle), since the accident, consist primarily of bone, skin and some veins. ugghh...
Please be careful if you or anyone in your family use a pressure washer. They can be very dangerous.
Posted at 08:48 AM

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PowerWasher can cause real harm, visit http://www.pressurewasherbitz.com where we will add some safety instructions.
Posted by: Steve Oct 26, 2008 at 01:45 PM

Well i unfortunately found this out yesterday. I was using a garage pressure washer with my five year old son, he was only holding the hose i had total control on the gun end. There was a wee leak in it spraying a little but as someone had used it before me i thought it was ok, Next thing the little hole in the hose burst and the hose went out of control, i grabbed the hose to stop my son getting hurt and the water cut right through my left thumb, so painfull. Had to go to hospital and get it cleaned and fixed up, and get another tennus. Definately a dangerous piece of equipment but there was no-one there to check it or help.
Posted by: louise Nov 05, 2007 at 09:04 AM

I accidentally power washed a portion of my arm a few weeks ago, and let me tell you...it hurt like crap, and I'm sure that a gross scar will be visible for the rest of my life. I had no idea how much damage a power washer could do until I came into personal contact with one. People of all ages should use extreme caution when using one - never let your guard down for a second!
Posted by: Liz Jul 09, 2007 at 11:50 PM

That's so horrible! I'm so sorry!!! This exact thing happened to my Uncle and he almost lost his arm. He dropped the nozzle and it went off. If it would have hit just 1/4" over, it could have killed him. People do not realize how dangerous these things are (as you said)! Happy thoughts for your Dad and your family!!!
Posted by: Carrie May 17, 2006 at 11:22 PM

Oh my Gosh!!!!! I had no idea that those pressure washers could do something like that! I told my son about this (he uses one to paint with) and various odd jobs..he said Yes...they are extremely dangerous...and that many people get hurt badly every year from these..Thanks Tracy for posting this!! I hope your Dad is doing GREAT!!!!
Posted by: vicci_ann May 17, 2006 at 12:45 PM

oh goodness, who knew? thanks for that, and i hope he's doing better...
Posted by: kelly rae May 16, 2006 at 06:53 PM

REally hope your Dad is ok! Wow! I've never had need for a power washer, but I will never forget your situation with your Dad!
Posted by: PJ May 15, 2006 at 08:17 PM

Wow, what a terrible thing for your dad to have to go through -- prayers for all. Thanks for posting so we can put this in our "common sense file."
Posted by: Cindy Ericsson May 14, 2006 at 05:23 PM

What a horrific tale, and I can see it would make you feel completley out of sorts. I hope he heals quickly and that all turns out well. best to you and yours!
Posted by: Ulla May 14, 2006 at 09:41 AM

Geesh, we use ours all the time here and lend it out to neighbors -- will definitely be more careful and we're hoping your dad feels better and heals right up so he can get golfing with his buddies soon!
Posted by: kristina May 13, 2006 at 09:05 AM

OH my goodness, I had no idea these washers were so dangerous! Hope your dad is on the mend. Thank you SOSOSO much for the email messages and photos you sent -- lots of ideas for projects. I'll send pics of what I do once I get started on something! And YES let's do that interview when you have a chance... xoxox L
Posted by: knit and purl grrl May 12, 2006 at 11:16 PM

Tracy, I am so sorry to hear about your dad... I do hope they find a way to spare his foot. I had no idea power washers were that powerful and dangerous, very scary.
Posted by: melanie komisarski May 12, 2006 at 07:35 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your Father - He will be in my prayers. What a coincidence - We live in Hertford, NC which is not far from the Outer Banks. Darlene
Posted by: darlene koppel May 12, 2006 at 07:35 AM

Tracy- your parents are in my prayers, please keep us informed on how your dad is fairing...I hope he recovers and gets to continue his golf game!
Posted by: kim boehm May 12, 2006 at 05:24 AM

Oh Tracy, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I will send positive thoughts that he is ok and his foot is spared. I hope he is back on the links soon. Hugs
Posted by: Heather May 11, 2006 at 10:42 PM

thanks for posting that..I do hope your dad is going to be ok. My husband just bought a power washer so I told him all about what happened with your dad. Thanks again for the warning. Sonya
Posted by: Sonya May 11, 2006 at 08:07 PM

scary. i will keep your dad in my prayers.
Posted by: laura=hackberryhaven May 11, 2006 at 06:57 PM

Oh wow Tracy! I am so sorry your dad has been hurt and that it's this serious! I can slightly relate. Once I went to a wand wash car wash and I was washing my car. At one point, I got bubbles on the back of my hand. I thought "Oh I will just rinse that off." and aimed the nozzle at my hand, not even stopping to think that a wand wash really is just another name for POWER WASHER. Needless to say, I got the bubbles off, along with several layers of skin. It was such a clean blast that it didn't even bleed initially, but man, it hurt like H*LL!!! I felt like woofing my cookies. I went home, bandaged it up and it took weeks to heal. I had a scar for a couple of years-it was pretty bad. Yes, I think it is wise to NOT ALLOW CHILDREN to use a power washer-anthing blasting under high pressure like that is dangerous. If it can take paint off a building, imagine how that feels blasting a layer (or several) of skin off-NOT FUN and once the damage is done, there's no fixin' it!
Posted by: Lelainia May 11, 2006 at 03:44 PM

My thoughts are with you and your dad, Tracy! That's a very scary thing and just shows how we take things for granted and don't really think of possible dangers in our lives...I sincerely hope he recovers quickly!
Posted by: Dawn May 11, 2006 at 01:00 PM
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