The #1 priority on any job is SAFETY. Before beginning any job you should take time to acquaint yourself with OSHA requirements (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.OSHA.com).
MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) – MSDS sheets offer important information on chemicals for emergency situations. These sheets are available to you from your dealer, but dealers are not required to give them to you unless you ask. MSDS pages must be present wherever and whenever the chemicals or cleaners are being used or stored. If you have chemicals in the vehicle then the corresponding MSDS sheets must be in the vehicle. The content of the sheets include chemical and safety information.
Chemicals/Cleaners – Chemicals and cleaners that are used in surface restoration should be handled with care. You can never have enough knowledge about them or exercise enough care when handling them. You should always have these items in your arsenal: latex gloves, elbow length gloves, safety goggles and/or a face shield, respirators, protective clothing, safety boots and/or shoes, first aid kit, and an eye wash kit. Always wear full safety gear when transferring chemicals from one container to another. Always transfer chemicals in a safe area where a spill won’t cause harm to the property.
Before using any cleaner, read the directions and make sure that you follow them. Do not mix cleaners together, or make them stronger than suggested, or you may cause damage to the surface or create a hazardous (unsafe) situation. Remember, short exposure to any chemical may not bother you today but continued exposure over time can cause serious health issues.
Choosing cleaners requires knowledge and thought. For a rule of thumb, use an alkaline cleaner (high pH) for all oil-based soils and an acid-based cleaner for all mineral-based soils.
Height – Buildings and homes come in various heights and number of stories. A proper inspection conducted before estimating and again prior to starting work should be conducted to acquaint you with the surroundings of the job. At this time plan how you will perform the job. Ladders should be inspected before use and should be tied off, secured and footed. Footing a ladder is having someone else secure the ladder. Be careful of ladders becoming slippery from cleaners and water. Pay close attention to proper weight ratings listed on the side of ladders.
There is other equipment to use when working with height and safety should be exercised. Some examples are safety harnesses, scaffolding, and lifts. Follow all instructions and take safety lessons where available when using these types of equipment.
Equipment – Make sure to read all manufacturers safety directions when handling equipment. Use equipment for intended uses only. Do not allow sprayers to be stored under pressure. Have a preventive maintenance program set up, not only so that you get longer life out of equipment but to also ensure that all equipment is in safe working order.
Note: Spontaneous combustion is produced by the generation of heat through a chemical reaction of its own elements. For this reason you should never store used rags in a closed area.
Lifting – When lifting heavy equipment and containers, you should bend down and lift with your knees. Many back injuries occur when lifting using arms and backs only. Use ramps to move heavy equipment to and from your vehicle.
Electrical Safety – When dealing with water, electrical safety is a must. Make sure all outlets and electrical lights are covered. Make sure all extension cords are in excellent working order. Do not spray water in the direction of outlets and electrical equipment. Always be aware of overhead power lines and be careful around power meters on the outside of the house.
Housekeeping – Clear the working area of any objects that may become entangled in or cut high pressure lines. Make sure that all exterior windows and doors are shut tight. Make sure that all animals and people are at a safe distance and away from chemicals, high pressure lines and your machine.