Pressure Washer Safety

If you need to clean your deck, there are a couple of options. You can use a stiff brush and some bleach or you can use a pressure washer.


A pressure washer used to be a tool used mostly by professionals but with the cost of these machines dropping more and more homeowners are buying them.

The problem is that most people don’t read the warnings that come with the pressure washer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “an estimated 6,057 people in 2014 alone went to an emergency room with injuries related to pressure washer use…”

A regular garden hose generates around 50 psi. A pressure washer on the other hand generates anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 psi (and up to 30,000 psi for industrial, high-end pressure washers) and that much pressure can cause serious injuries.

Part of the problem is that the injury isn’t always apparent. If you accidentally get your hand in the spray, you might not think you’ve done that much harm but the problem is that a pressure washer is actually “injecting” water deep into the skin tissue and this can cause serious infections. Because the damage isn’t evident, most people delay treatment and increase the risk.

Here are some safety tips when using a pressure washer:

  1. NEVER use a zero-degree nozzle. Most of the newer models don’t allow anything lower than 15 degrees to keep users safe but many of the older models still have the zero-degree nozzle. If you still have one of these discard it.
  2. Always wear goggles, long pants (never shorts) and long sleeve shirts, as well as proper shoes or boots (no flip-flops or sandals).
  3. Always wear gloves.
  4. Always be aware of where the water stream is pointing and turn it off if your attention needs to be elsewhere.
  5. Be aware that, especially when using an electric pressure washer, there are electrical shock issues involved. Keep extension cords and outlets away from the pressure washer.
  6. Wear rubber sole boots or shoes.


Get all your safety supplies online at

Working Safely with Scissor Lifts

OSHA has released a new safety hazard alert related to working safely with scissor lifts:

Scissor lifts provide a safe and reliable platform for workers to perform job tasks when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When not used properly, scissor lifts can present a serious hazard to workers. Employers are responsible for keeping workers safe. This Hazard Alert highlights specific hazards present in workplaces where scissor lifts are used and controls employers must implement to prevent injuries or fatalities.”
The 4-page manual covers all potential hazards associated with working in a scissor lift.

Nail Salon Visit can Turn Into a Nightmare

You go to the nail salon to relax, get your nails done and to look good but you could end up getting none of those if the nail salon you’re going to isn’t following proper hygiene regulations. A report by found that more and more women are ending up with serious infections because tools weren’t properly sterilized and other hygiene safeguards weren’t adhered to:


Protecting Poultry Workers

Next time you bite into a piece of chicken think about the workers that got that piece of poultry to your dinner table.


Did you know, for instance, that poultry workers get hurt twice as often as other workers? Or, did you know that they get sick six times more often than other workers in the private sector?

Among the health issues that poultry workers face are musculoskeletal disorders, tinitus from exposure to high noise levels, dangerous equipment and machines, slick and slippery floors from blood and chemicals and exposure to dangerous chemicals such as ammonia (which is used as a refrigerant in the poultry processing environment).  Further more, workers are exposed to many biological hazards because they often handle live birds, bird poop and dander and dust.

Because of this as well as because of a renewed emphasis on food safety, OSHA is stepping up inspections of poultry processing operations. They’ve also put together a webpage on their site to help employers as well as employees reduce these hazards in the workplace.

The topics they address are:

To find out more about the dangers and hazards in the poultry industry check out this report entitled Lives on the Line.

Free Hot Work Training Module

From our friends at convergence training….

According to the Chemical Safety Board, at least 60 people have died as a result of explosions and fires caused by hot work since 1990. That’s about three people every year.

Because hot work accidents can lead to such tragic ends, we’ve created a free hot work training module for you. It includes images from our own 3D-animated Hot Work training modules, the Chemical Safety Board’s “Dangers of Hot Work” video, and some interactive wizardry we’ve programmed specially for this occasion.

Don’t forget we’ve got two separate, full-length, 3D-animated “hot work” training courses in our health and safety training library–one on Hot Work Safety, and a second on Hot Work Permits. Need more information from Convergence Training about hot work training or any other training need? Drop us a line to request a demo.

We hope you enjoy this. Don’t forget you can play the game here now, bookmark the site and come back to play it again later, or click the download button below to download a version in SCORM and import it into your SCORM-compliant LMS. (If you don’t have a SCORM-compliant LMS, check out the family of Convergence learning management systems).

NOTE: Please read that last paragraph closely. The download you’ll get is a zipped folder in a format called SCORM. Once you’ve downloaded it, you cannot open the folder and play it without first importing it into a learning management system (LMS).

Need more information? Here’s more information about learning management systems.

What is it you need to know to stay safe in your job?

OSHA, NIOSH, ANSI and a number of other agencies to a great job of tracking potential hazards for most major industries. If you work in construction for example, there’s no end of material out on the internet to help you identify and protect against the hazards and dangers that might be present; same if you work in manufacturing. But what about those other jobs, the ones that we don’t necessarily think of as “dangerous”? Where, for example, for you go to find information of the potential hazards of being an artist? Or what about those of a dog trainer, or a printer?

Fortunately there’s a site that has the information you need.


Head over to and dig around alphabetically to find a whole lot of information on topics you might not have thought about.



Toxic Air Fresheners


Whether it’s in the bathroom or throughout the whole house right before you know that guests are coming over, most of us use air fresheners to “improve” what we perceive to be poor indoor air quality, at least as far as the nose is concerned. What you may not know, however is that a study done as far back as 2006 found that people that use air fresheners even as little as once a week increase their risk (or increase the risk of those in the house with them) of asthma by almost 30%.

The reason is pretty simple. Supposed “air fresheners” rely on chemicals to eliminate or mask odors.

So what exactly might be in the air freshener you’re using?

  • phthalates – The MSDS for phthalates lists the Potential Chronic Health Effects as:
    The substance may be toxic to liver, central nervous system (CNS). Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage“.
  • Formaldehyde – Rather than list all the potential health hazards I’ll just give you the link to the MSDS sheet and let you read the very long list for yourself. It isn’t pretty!
  • Benzene – Potential health effects: “Very hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant, permeator), of ingestion. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching.
    Again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, read the rest of the potential health hazards on the MSDS Sheet.
  • Butane – The MSDS Sheet here reads: “Individuals with pre-existing conditions of the heart, lungs, and blood may have increased susceptibility to symptoms of asphxia. Butane may hypersensitize the heart to ventricular fibrillation and arrhythmias in people taking epinephrine. “
  • Acetone – Again, the MSDS sheet reads: “Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (permeator).”
  • Amorphous Fumed Silica – This MSDS Sheet states: “Dust may be irritating to eyes and respiratory tract. Repeated exposure may cause skin dryness or cracking.

Would any one of us willingly expose ourselves and our kids to this stuff? How is it okay for the companies that make this stuff to willingly poison our air with it?

Want to find out how you air freshener stacks up? First of all, just read the ingredients on the side of the package or can.
If your air freshener is like the one that I just pulled off the shelf, it probably doesn’t list all the ingredients. In the case of the one that I looked at it listed only Ethanol as the main active ingredients (That’s pretty bad for starters, just look at the health hazards above). Dig a little deeper by looking up the MSDS on your specific air freshener. In the case of the one I looked up here’s what the other 41% of ingredients that wasn’t listed was:
Propane 2.5 – 10%
Triethylene glycol 2.5 – 10 %
Butane 10 – 20 %

No wonder they didn’t want to list it. Ironically they label these ingredients “inactive”, in other words they do nothing except poison the air that you’re breathing.

This website checks out some of the most popular air fresheners: