Water blasting injuries are becoming more common now that many businesses are making the switch from sandblasting to water blasting. Water blasting is used for the same purpose as sandblasting. The high pressure removes paint and other contaminants from the substrate so that it can be repainted without the need to pressure wash. Water blasting has the advantage of not generating dust and therefore, silicosis is no longer a risk to the blaster. However, water blasting injuries can be even more severe than sandblasting injuries if safety guidelines are not followed.
When hearing the words water blasting, many people may think of their home pressure washers. The pressure in these small machines ranges from 1500 to 3000 psi. The pressures in an ultra high pressure water blasting machine will reach as high as 40,000 psi. These pressures are great enough to cut through steal, so much worse can happen if the water jet comes in contact with human flesh. Water blasting injuries can be horrific but can also appear insignificant if only a small puncture happens. However, a small puncture can become severe if medical care is not received.
Perhaps the most important point about water blasting injuries is that they may not appear severe immediately after the accident. The water blasting injuries may not even be terribly painful. Make no mistake, this injury is extremely severe. Water blasting injuries are similar to gunshot wounds but have the added danger of contaminated water. If the water jet cuts through a shoe or sleeve and punctures the skin, it may only appear as a small bruise. What has actually happened is that contaminated water has been shot inside the body and will cause infections. If you suffer a water blasting injury, go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY. No matter what anyone tells you, this injury must receive medical attention immediately or you may be at risk for losing the part of the body that is affected.
Many of the same dangers apply to water blasting as sandblasting. Noise protection and personal protection equipment should be worn at all times. Also, the dead-man switch should not be rigged to stay on when not being held down. With water blasting, different equipment must be worn. Face shields or masks are necessary due to debris flying off the substrate as well as specially designed metal shin guards and foot guards. Do not let limbs come in contact with the water jet or they may be lost. Be careful not to run over blast hoses with man lifts or vehicles. The hoses have two layers, a protective outer layer and a high pressure layer inside. If the inside hose ruptures, the outer layer is only effective if it has not been damaged.
The most important thing to remember is to seek medical attention right away in the case of water blasting injuries, regardless of what they look like or how painful they are. Water blasting is only dangerous if done improperly.
The accident attorneys at The Lambert Firm represents injury victims. If you or a loved one has experienced a water blasting accident, contact The Lambert Firm today for a free case evaluation.