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Friday, March 30, 2012

Compressed Air Safety For Employees

To ensure compressed air safety when personnel are handling compressed air cylinders in the workplace (or in fact at home) all components of compressed air systems should be inspected regularly by qualified and trained employees. Operators carrying out the safety tests should individually take note of: the air receivers, the air distributions lines, the pressure regulation devices, the compressor operation and compressed Air Equipment Maintenance.

Compressed air safety should be taken very seriously due to the fact that a compressed gas cylinder accident can be fatal for personnel. While it is perfectly safe to work with if the operator knows what they are doing, it can conversely be very dangerous if handled by someone who has not had the correct training or is not furnished with sufficient information.

In order to guard against accidents in the workplace and to ensure a happy and healthy working environment, following are typical safety considerations that should be observed:

Compressed air should never be used to clean off clothes, workbenches, cabs of work vehicles, air filters or workshop floors. It is not a toy and can cause grievous bodily harm and operators messing around with the it without due consideration and using the air for games should not be tolerated ever. Compressed air should never be aimed or pointed at another person. When disconnecting airlines, turn off the air (never kink the hose) and bleed off the air gradually and aim the stream away from people.

Compressors and air powered tools require regular inspection and maintenance, including: daily checks for oil leaks and correct fitting of guards; daily checks of tools for damage to hoses and dirty, inoperable or damaged fittings and connections; verification of correct operation of pressure relief valves; periodic inspection of the pressure vessels (as prescribed in state legislation)

Storage of the air hose is also very important in compressed gas cylinder safety. The air hoses should be kept off the floor, where they pose a trip hazard and can potentially be damaged by regular foot traffic, dropped tools and heavy trucks rolling over it. Keep sharp tools away from the air hose as much as possible. Coil the air hose sensibly without kinks and hang it over a broad support, not over a hook, nail, or angle iron, when not in use. To avoid potential physical damage, use the lowest pressure that will do the job. Air pressure in excess of 30 lbs. can penetrate the skin to cause massive internal damage, it can burst internal organs, it can blow an eye from its socket and/ or rupture an ear drum (these are just a few of the unfortunate potential consequences when very high air pressure is mishandled).

Due to the above points made, MlOSHA's General Provisions Standard for compressed air safety which states "air pressure at the discharge end of a portable air blow gun or portable air hose should be less than 30 lbs. per square inch gauge when dead-ended," should be observed unless under very specific circumstances. Remember to keep these safety measures in mind the next time you work with it.

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