Ontario company hit with fine after worker injured by pressure washer
A worker at a Nanticoke, Ont. farm was permanently injured after dropping a spray gun and being sprayed in the face by a 2,000 psi pressure washer; check out the video to see how much damage a pressure washer can actually do
BRANTFORD, Ont.—A southwestern Ontario pig farm has pleaded guilty to violating Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was permanently injured by a pressure washer.
The incident occurred in December 2015 at Nanticoke, Ont.’s Paragon Farms, a partnership between Great Lakes Pork Inc. and Ontario Management Group Inc.
According the the Ministry of Labour, the worker tripped while carrying a running portable washer spray gun into a stall. Stumbling, the worker dropped the gun and was sprayed in the face with water at an estimated pressure of 2,000 to 2,300 psi. The worker was taken to hospital for treatment, but sustained a permanent injury as a result of the accident.
The province said the pressure washer’s trigger was kept in the open position by a plastic zip tie.
While Paragon had both a personal protective equipment policy and a pressure washer safety policy in place at the time of the incident, the investigation found the company did not actively enforce its rules around wearing safety glasses while pressure washing or preventing the equipment’s trigger to be forced open.
The company was fined $55,000 for not taking every reasonable precaution to protect its workers. It’s since prohibited the use of zip ties and reduced the maximum pressure on its pressure washers to 1,800 psi.
Pressure washers are a relatively common source of injury both in the workplace and for regular consumers. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approximately 6,000 people were sent to the emergency room with pressure washer-related injuries in 2014.
Damage a 2,000 psi pressure washer can cause with 10 seconds of exposure: