A worker has been injured while operating high pressure water jetting equipment.
The incident occurred while the worker was operating in a confined space, cleaning demister pads using a jetting gun, lance, and pencil nozzle, according to the WA DMP.
It explained the due to the confined space being poorly lit they had taped a torch to the end of the lance as the poor visibility of the workspace was exacerbated due to the dispersion of water and particles as they cleaned, however this torch also partially obscured the worker’s sight of the nozzle head and the working area, which contributed to the incident.
“The worker [then] stood upright, holding the high-pressure water lance between his legs, with the lance facing down and at a 90 degree angle to the demister pads; the jet of high pressure water struck his protective gum boot while cleaning the pads,” the DMP said.
“The force of the water was sufficient to pass through the lining of the boot and penetrate the worker’s foot, creating a high pressure injection wound that entered and exited through the inner ball of his foot.”
It is understood that the pressure required to penetrate the surface of the skin is about 100 psi.
The DMP labelled the worker’s action as the direct causes of the incident, adding that the operating pressure of the water jet – which was reportedly twice the recommended reaction force for operation – greatly exceeded the pressure rating of the protective gum boot work by the worker.
It also labelled the torch attached to the lance as a work hazard due to its partially obscuring the worker’s vision of the nozzle, adding that intrinsically safe lighting available at the workplace was not used.