I Shot Myself
Having spent years as a contractor user and more years as a pressure washer mechanic, all without spray-related mishaps, it finally happened. I shot myself. It happened while pressure cleaning a weathered pergola structure. I was standing on top of the cross-members, ready to step over to another area, when I unintentionally triggered the gun for a very brief moment.
The trapped pressure unloader on the machine delivered a fluid burst somewhat like getting shot with one of those inoculation guns. Thankfully, the injury wasn’t serious, and the injected fluid was plain water. But the fan spray did produce a rather deep incision, much like the surgical kind, but with rougher edges than a scalpel would leave. The “incision” is healing nicely but slowly, because it’s deep.
I guess this surely doesn’t make me a poster-boy for last month’s Cleaner Time/IWA focus on safety. What galls me is that in this instance, I ignored some excellent advice from a safety training program called SafeStart. (This is not a plug for the SafeStart folks.) They tell us that most accidents result from a person being in one or more of these states:
I can’t agree more. In my case, it was complacency. When you’ve handled a trigger gun thousands of times, you get to using it without thinking about what you’re doing.
When I look back at various mishaps I’ve had over the years, sure enough, one or more of those four factors was involved. And although frustration (being upset about something) or fatigue creep in from time to time, my own worst enemy is a combination of the first and fourth factors: rushing combined with complacency. At the time of my accident, the temperature outside was a bit cool. A pergola is an intricate structure, and even those skilled in gun handling find it difficult to shoot into oddball shapes without having some of the cold water come back at them. Being cold and wet makes you want to hurry up and get the job over with, which increases the chances of a mishap. Throw in the complacency factor, and the odds go up further.
I’ve memorized those four factors and found that accidents are far less likely to happen if I keep them in mind and take into account whether or not I’m in one or more of those states.
I hope this will be of some use to you.