Safe Use of Compressed Air
Never allow compressed air to be used to clean people down.
A common misconception is that it is safe to ‘blow off‘ with compressed air. It isn’t, here are some facts about compressed air that might make you think twice.
– Compressed air accidentally blown into the mouth can rupture the lungs, stomach or intestines.
– Compressed air can enter the navel, even through a layer of clothing, and inflate and rupture the intestines.
– Compressed air can enter the bloodstream, and death is possible if it makes its way to blood vessels in the brain.
– Direct contact with compressed air can lead to serious medical conditions and even death.
– Even safety nozzles which regulate compressed air pressure below 30 psi should not be used to clean the human body.
– As little as 12 pounds of compressed air pressure can blow an eye out of its socket. If an air pocket reaches the heart, it causes symptoms similar to a heart attack. Upon reaching the brain, pockets of air may lead to a stroke.
Safety points to follow
- Never point an air hose at anyone, including yourself, in fun or to remove dirt from clothing or the body.
- Never use compressed air for cleaning without adequate eye protection. Use safety glasses with side shields or goggles.
- If it is essential to use compressed air to clean dirt and chips from your work, use a proper safety nozzle on the end of the air hose to maintain air pressure at 30 psi or less. Place a screen around the work area, or check to see that other workers are safely out of the range of flying particles
- Whenever possible, substitute brushes or vacuum systems for compressed air in cleaning operations.
- Before using compressed air, check the air hose for damage or signs of failure. Make sure connections and couplings are tight. A loose air hose under 80 psi makes a dangerous bull whip!
- Before attempting to disconnect a hose from an air line, the air should be cut off, and the remaining air bled from the line.
- Keep air hoses off the floor where they become tripping hazards and are subject to damage by vehicles, doors, and dropped tools. If possible, suspend air hoses from overhead.
- Never use compressed air to transfer flammable liquids.
- Never use compressed air to attempt to unblock pipes or discharge liquids from vessels.
Reed Consulting can advise on all types of Occupational Health and Safety topics, providing advice and training at all levels.
Source: Reed Consulting Bangladesh