Compressed air comes out of a nozzle at a bazillion miles an hour! Don’t let this dangerous air pressure hurt you or a co-worker. Listen for 9 safety tips.
Pressured air tanks, hoses and nozzles can be a dangerous combination if treated casually. Hear about how to protect people and equipment working with compressed air.
In this podcast, Dan Clark warns of the dangers in using, storing and maintaining compressed air systems. It’s 3 minutes well spent for a new worker, or the seasoned pro.
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Dan Clark: Compressed air can blow an eye out of its socket! Compressed air is great for industry with its fast-moving, focused stream. But it can cause severe injuries. Let’s look at how to avoid 9 dangers of compressed air.
Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
When we talk about compressed air, I don’t mean the little can used to blow dust off of your keyboard. I’m talking industrial use: The pressurized tank and air hose. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of stupid things with compressed air. And I’ve been lucky.
#1. Even at 12 psi, you could lose an eye. Never use compressed air to clean dirt or dust from your clothing or body. Air blown into the mouth can cause ruptures in the lungs or stomach. Compressed air can actually break through the skin. Now, this can cause minor injuries, but if that air enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain or heart, stroke or heart attack-like symptoms can occur.
#2. Wear hearing protection.The noise level of spraying air can cause hearing loss, and you don’t need an OSHA recordable for this easy fix.
#3. Cleaning. Workers are tempted to use compressed air for dusting and cleaning, but at high pressure, this can be dangerous. Only use it at 30 psi or less, and then only with goggles, a face shield or approved safety glasses. But remember, you could be doing more damage than good. Bits of dust, paint or other materials blown with pressurized air can invade equipment and injure people without PPE.
#4. If using compressed air to inflate things, such as tires, make sure the pressure gauges are accurate. If not, it’s an easy overfill, which can lead to accidents later on.
#5. Store hoses safely, away from heat and sunlight. A cracked or broken hose can cause serious injury. Hoses are best stored on a hose reel for longer life, and to avoid tripping hazards.
#6. Use correct nozzles, those that keep deadhead pressure at less than 30 psi. The control trigger must be allowed to move freely. Never taped or clamped open.
#7. Bleed pressure and shut off valves before making hose connections. Never connect or disconnect a pressurized hose.
#8. The shut off valve must be within easy reach of the worker.
#9. Inspect the equipment.
• Check the hoses. Damaged hoses can lead to air leaking or exploding. And never, of course, use frayed, damaged or deteriorated hoses.
• Maintain the compressed air generator in good condition.
• Make sure tank pressure doesn’t exceed manufacturer’s recommended limit.
That’s all for this episode on 9 Dangers Of Compressed Air. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code SAFETYBRIEF.
OSHA info on compressed air.