What OSHA 1910.242(b) Means For Compressed Air Product Users

Medically speaking, our skin is an organ…and an amazing one at that. It protects our internals from an incredibly harsh environment as we’re bombarded by radiation (sunlight), subjected to summer’s heat & the cold of winter, attacked by fierce invaders (from viruses & bacteria to insects & spiders), all while we carry on at the bottom of a 60 mile-deep ocean (of air!)

Our skin requires some protection too: Sunscreen mitigates some of the harmful effects of solar radiation, shoes protect our feet from the ground, gloves & coats prevent frostbite, and compliance with OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) protects operators who use compressed air devices for cleaning purposes from air embolisms. That’s when air, under pressure, has enough energy to break the skin (tough as it is) and reach the tissue underneath. It’s painful, and serious enough that the victim should absolutely seek emergency medical treatment. If the air breaks a blood vessel and enters the pulmonary system, it can be deadly, in a hurry.

In 1971, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) determined that air under pressure higher than 30 pounds per square inch is capable of causing such injuries, if the pressurized source is dead-ended into the skin. Based on this determination, they included the following verbiage in Standard 1910.242, regulating the safe operation of hand and portable powered tools & equipment:


1910.242(b) Compressed air used for cleaning. Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment.


In February 1972, OSHA issued Instruction STD 01-13-001 to clarify the meaning of 1910.242(b), with two illustrations of acceptable methods to meet compliance. The first is the use of a pressure reducer (or regulator):

While this method is compliant with the OSHA Standard, it’s kind of impractical, since you’re not going to get a whole lot of cleaning done with such a low energy air flow. If that’s not bad enough, it’s STILL going to be loud, and wasteful as far as the cost of compressed air goes.

The other method illustrated in the Instruction’s enclosures involves the nozzles themselves:

Compressed air product manufacturers use this method to make OSHA compliant Nozzles.

One design that complies with OSHA 1910.242(b) using this method is the cross drilled nozzle:

Unless it’s blocked off, practically all of the air flow goes straight out the end, but if you block off the end, it all goes out the cross drilled hole. As long that hole is properly sized, you won’t build up 30 psi at the main outlet.

If you’re not concerned about high operating cost or deafening noise, you can stop reading now; these are all you need for OSHA compliance with Standard 1910.242(b). If you DO care about spending less money on compressed air or complying with OSHA Standard 1910.95(a) (which you read all about here), let’s spend a minute on engineered compressed air nozzles:

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles discharge compressed air through an annular array of holes, recessed between a series of fins. This causes the primary (compressed air) stream to entrain an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment.

In addition to making them cost less to operate (since most of the total developed air flow is entrained), they’re also VERY quiet (since the entrained air forms a boundary layer on the outside of the air stream), AND they can’t be dead ended:

Since the fins won’t allow for a complete blockage of the compressed air discharging from the Super Air Nozzle, this design is a prime example of a built-in “relief device” as defined by Instruction STD 01-13-001, above.

All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, in fact, incorporate a form of built-in “relief device”:

The overhang of the cap on the Flat Super Air Nozzles and the Super Air Knives prevent them from being dead ended.

If you’d like to discuss safe use of compressed air, it’s one of our primary goals here at EXAIR – give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR LLC
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Dead End Pressure

With all the warm weather and outdoor activities around the house the past few weeks I had somewhat forgotten about a nice wasp nest that had been constructed in between the front door to our house and my bedroom window.  This also happens to be right in the corner of two walls and in the deepest portion of the landscaping.   Like I said though, I had forgotten about it for a few weeks which gave the inhabitants enough time to double the size of the nest.

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With that being said, I didn’t want to use wasp or bee spray because it means I would have to get close to the nest and I have a strong belief that all of those products just make them really angry and don’t bring death right away.  I wanted the nest to have a quick death because then I don’t have to run around my yard, screaming, because I have a wasp chasing me after destroying their home.

I cam up with several methods to get rid of the nest.

1.) Brake Cleaner – Very effective, however the nest was also right above our air conditioning condenser so that was out.

2.) Small controlled burn – In my experience it is never small nor controlled.   Plus it was way to close to the dry roofline.

3.) 3,000 psi of water in a jet stream from the pressure washer.  WINNER!!!!

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So I set out to the front of the house with the pressure washer and hose in tow.  Get everything setup and notice that there is one sentry wasp sitting right at the entrance.  So I simply got the nozzle of the gun with pin point spray as close as I could and as soon as the wasp started to move I shot the entire nest off the house.   Then I proceeded to shoot it back and forth in the landscaping until I saw no survivors.

That was 3,000 psi of water that tore through a nest and rid my house of a pest.  This made me think of just how little pressure the human skin can take.  OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b) guards against a mere 30 PSIG. Higher pressure air, when blocked up against our skin, has the potential to push air into our bloodstream and cause air embolism – a serious threat to our health. Too many commercial air nozzles and guns, open pipes and homemade blow off violate this OSHA standard and pose a threat to personnel.

EXAIR engineered air nozzles and products have been designed to eliminate the possibility of being dead-ended (blocked). This is why all of EXAIR’s products meet or exceed the OSHA standard 1910.242(b) for 30 psi dead-end pressure.  None of our products can be dead ended and cause bodily harm when used properly.  These engineered features also reduce noise levels and minimize air consumption. So if you are concerned with any of your compressed air applications, and just how safe they are, contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

The Thing About 100 MPH Fastballs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an awesome Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. Today, dear reader, I want to write about something completely different: An awesome Tuesday evening at the ballpark. My youngest son and I went with his Knothole Baseball team with tickets purchased through The Kid Glove Way, a charitabler organization that has partnered with the Cincinnati Reds since 1949 to ensure that local youth have equipment to play baseball & softball, regardless of their financial situation.

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The weather was perfect, and my Reds got off to a great start: Leadoff batter Billy Hamilton hit one into the left field corner for a triple. Now, this would have been a double for most any other player – proven out by Reds’ sluggers Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips, who both hit balls in almost the exact same location as the night progressed, and both ended up on second base. But not Hamilton…he’s FAST – the fastest runner in Major League Baseball by most accounts. If you have the opportunity to see this guy run in person (he IS coming right along as a hitter, so the odds are increasing), I highly recommend it…television doesn’t do his speed justice.

The rest of the game dragged on in a pitcher’s duel…not the most exciting spectacle in the wide world of sports…but the crowd took notice when Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman started warming up in the bullpen. “The Cuban Missile” caught a line drive in the eye during Spring Training, which fractured his skull…thing about a 100 mph fastball; it goes the other way just as hard if the batter turns on it well. It was cool to be there for his second game back after recovering from that serious of an injury.

So there we were, top of the ninth inning, score tied 1-1, and Chapman strikes out the first two batters. The Padres’ Chase Headley came to the plate, took a ball, fouled one off, and drove the next pitch over the left field fence. Thing about 100 mph fastballs…

The Reds’ offense came up short in the bottom of the ninth, and they lost. It was still an awesome night at the ballpark with my son, though.

The thing about 100 mph fastballs reminded me of the thing about open ended compressed air blow offs: there’s no way to generate an air flow with a higher force, but that’s not always a good thing. They’re loud, unsafe, inefficient, and wasteful of your compressed air. Conversely, EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products, such as our Super Air Nozzles, Super Air Knives and Super Air Amplifiers, are all specifically designed to use MUCH less compressed air, meet OSHA standards for dead end pressure and permissible noise exposure  and still produce a highly effective air flow for blow off, cooling, drying, etc. Sure; the air flow from these products doesn’t have the force of what you get from an open pipe, but the fact that these engineered products entrain so much “free” air from the surrounding environment into a laminar (as opposed to the open pipes’ turbulence), high velocity flow, make them an ideal choice for most any air blowing application. Not to mention, they’re also much quieter, and ensure compliance with OSHA directives concerning the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes.

The Reds will be in and out-of-town for the rest of the season, trying to solve the different equations for beating different opponents. We’re here every day, looking to help you solve your unique compressed air applications. Batter up!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
(513)671-3322 local
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(513)671-3363 fax
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