The colour purple sets new standard for pressure washing

A new code of practice for pressure washing is being launched with the aim of setting clear standards for an industrial cleaning process widely used in the construction industry.

The Water Jetting Association (WJA) has devised the new code, denoted by the colour purple, to encourage safety standards to catch up with ‘powerful technology’ that has developed in recent years.

Pressure washing is used on construction sites to clean built structures and remove mud from paths and roadways.

The WJA already had a ‘blue’ code of practice for high and ultra-high pressure water jetting, which includes hydrodemolition, and a ‘red’ code for drainage applications.

WJA president John Jones said, “Technology can advance faster than our appreciation of the risks involved in using it. From my perspective, this has been happening with pressure washing. It is a cleaning system – often combined with hot water, steam and chemicals, which have their own risks – that’s becoming essential across many industrial environments, not least construction.

“However, many employers are not taking nearly enough precautions to protect their operatives or others in work areas when pressure washing is being carried out.”

The WJA’s primary concern is safety. However, it argues any water jetting application will be more effective and productive if standards detailed in its codes of practice are observed.

The association believes many pressure washing injuries go unreported because complications caused by fluid injection injuries can cause long-term health problems.

The new code is designed to support safe and productive water jetting for the lowest NACE pressure band, up to 207 bar, or 3,000 psi. It has sections on training and competency, site and equipment set-up, and the different types of pressure washing pumps and equipment.  Also covered is equipment operation, use of PPE, and managing the pressure washing team

The WJA hopes take-up of the pressure washing code of practice will encourage more contractors to have their operatives trained. The WJA offers a half-day City & Guilds accredited pressure washing course.