Water blasting injuries are becoming more common now that many companies are making the switch from sandblasting to water blasting. Water blasting, like sandblasting, involves using high pressure to remove paint and other contaminants from a 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.
Why Water Blasting Injuries Are So Serious
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 used on a vessel, offshore rig or industrial setting will reach as high as 40,000 psi. These pressures are great enough to cut through steel. Imagine the amount of injury that can happen if the water jet comes in contact with human flesh.
Common Causes of Water Blasting Injuries in Maritime Jobs
Water blasting injuries commonly happen in one of the following ways:
- An uncontrolled hose strikes a worker, causing trauma to the body.
- The skin is punctured by a jet of fluid under high pressure.
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 though, this injury is extremely severe.
Water blasting injuries are similar to gunshot wounds but have the added danger of introducing contaminated water into the wound. 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 can cause potentially life-threatening 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 Dangers of Water Blasting are the Same as Sandblasting – Keep This in Mind When Using a Water Blaster
Water blasting has many of the same dangers as sandblasting. Please keep these tips in mind when using a water blaster.
- Noise protection and personal protection equipment should be worn at all times.
- 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 accident attorneys at The Lambert Firm represent injury victims. If you or a loved one has experienced a water blasting accident, contact The Lambert Firm today for a free case evaluation.