Compressed air is something that’s often utilized in industrial, commercial and agricultural workplaces. It has a lot of practical applications, and it is so useful that it is often labeled the fifth utility, alongside other utilities like water, electricity and natural gas in terms of importance to an industrial facility. Compressed air, however, can be very dangerous if you don’t take all of the necessary safety precautions before using it. Let’s review some of the potential dangers associated with using compressed air on the job site.
What’s the Risk?
Compressed air is – as the name implied – pressurized and compressed to such a degree that blowing air directly at a person can actually end up causing injury. In serious instances, this air can penetrate the skin and even causing lead to a life-threatening air embolism. Likewise, compressed air can rupture ear drums and even displace eyeballs if you don’t pay attention and operate air-powered equipment as carefully as possible. OHSA restricts the maximum of 35 psi of air be used for blowing applications or process that people can be directly exposed.
Tiny particles can also be blown by compressed air, and these small grains of dust, dirt or other materials can cause extensive damage to skin and various body parts. Even if compressed air doesn’t actually come into contact with someone, the noise that it creates can harm their hearing. These are just a few of the most common dangers linked to compressed air as reported by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.
Another concern results from the fact that compressed often contains some level of oil. This can result in oil being injected into the body. It can result in oil injection injuries, similar to high pressure hydraulic. Loss of limbs or even death can be the consequence of this type of injury if immediate medical attention is not provided.
To prevent these problems, you should never aim compressed air at another person. You should also avoid using compressed air for cleaning purposes as the blowing air could lead to unintended harm. It’s also important to always wear earplugs when you are working around compressed air to protect your hearing. There are also OHSA approved nozzels and regulator that can be applied to help prevent the injuries.
Finally, if you use machinery that relies on compressed air, you should inspect it periodically to ensure that all air hoses and fittings are properly installed. Compressed air can put a lot of strain on the hoses and components attached to the system, which means that hoses can come loose from time to time. This can turn into real hazard if a hose comes loose, causing it to whip around wildly and blowing pressurized air in every direction.
If you use industrial compressed air utilities in your line of work, Case Controls can help you make sure it is being used in an optimal way. Contact us at 812-422-2422 today to speak with one of our representatives about the compressed air automation services we provide for our customers.