Safety Procedures for Using Steam

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Steam can become very hot, and can burn and scald the skin.
Steam can become very hot, and can burn and scald the skin. (Image: steam image by Dave from Fotolia.com)

Steam may seem less harmful than hot water, but this is not the case. Steam can cause serious injuries, and taking the correct safety precautions when using any equipment that produces steam is essential.

Hazards

The main danger associated with steam is burns or scalding to the skin. Water will scald at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Another hazard of steam is poor visibility. Steam will "cloud" the air, making it difficult to see what you are actually doing, which could lead to other accidents. Steam is still water and steam getting near electrical appliances or plug sockets could lead to an electric shock. If you are working with steam on or near a floor, the risk of slipping or falling also exists.

Protective Clothing

To ensure that you do not get burned or scalded, do not use steam above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for cleaning or other tasks. If you need to use steam at a higher temperature, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, face shield, eye protection, long apron and boots.

Other Precautions

To ensure that you do not get an electric shock, make sure that you work away from plugs, sockets and electrical equipment, or cover electrical equipment and ensure that it is completely dry before using. Place non-slip mats on the floor if there is a danger of it getting wet. If a steam cloud appears, stop working and wait for the cloud to dissipate before resuming your task.

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