The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun for OSHA Compliance

Compressed air has many different uses ranging from simple cooling and blow off applications all the way to operating machine cylinders and robotics. One of the most common uses is for simple cleaning; whether its cleaning off a work station or blowing off personnel it can’t be denied that air powered cleaning is very useful. But if the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are not followed it can also be unsafe.

Open-ended blow offs can inadvertently be dead ended (the airflow outlet can be completely blocked), when this happens if the pressure is to high an air embolism can form in an individuals bloodstream. Blowing something off with air can result in airborne particulate traveling at a high velocity that can become embedded into your skin or in your eye.

With all that being said this is where the safety air guns step into the spotlight! It’s pretty easy to make a safety air gun that complies with the dead-end pressure regulation; just give the air another path to take when the outlet is blocked. The most common solution found is a cross drilled nozzle which allows the air to escape when the end is blocked. Generally the problem with this design is that the nozzles can be very loud and inefficient. In most cases these nozzles have paid attention to the dead end problem but ignored the noise level exposure safety issue and completely ignored compressed air efficiency. 

With EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles you get both the added benefit of being safe, quiet and efficient. Our engineered designed air nozzles are commonly installed onto a Soft Grip Safety Air Gun to make an ergonomic, safe, and quiet Safety Air Gun. These can also have a  Chip Shield added to help prevent particles from flying back and hitting the user. The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun can also be coupled with a pipe extension from 6” to 72”; you can also add one of our Stay Set Hoses 6” in length to 36”.

Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with Stay Set Hose. eg. 1210-6SSH

Here are a few examples of the Soft Grip Safety Air Guns in our product line:

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Chip Shields, OSHA, And You

Safety is a key part of our culture at EXAIR Corporation.  We have regularly scheduled, all-hands required, safety training on a number of topics.  Our Order Entry team can likely tell you as much about our lockout/tagout procedures as our Machinists can.  Nobody even thinks about entering The Shop without safety glasses, and it’s not just because of the signs.

We pay attention to these…

…so we don’t ever have to use this.

OSHA 1910.242(b) states that “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. (emphasis mine)  All EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are engineered to meet the requirements of the first part (30psi outlet pressure to prevent dead ending…we’ve written about that numerous times, including here, here, and here) and we can also provide pre-installed devices to satisfy the second part:  the EXAIR Chip Shield.

Any EXAIR VariBlast or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun can come fitted with a Chip Shield, and any Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, except for those with Stay Set Hoses, can as well.  Safety Air Guns with Back Blow Nozzles automatically come with a Chip Shield. The principle is simple: a clear polycarbonate (so you can still see what you’re doing) round disc slips over a short (or long if you want) pipe extension between the gun & the nozzle.  It’s fitted with a rubber grommet so you can position it to where it’s most effective – sometimes that might be closer to the part being blown off; sometimes it may be back a little closer to the operator.

EXAIR Safety Air Guns are available, from stock, with Chip Shields.

If you already have an air gun that’s doing the job, you can easily add an EXAIR Chip Shield to it.  They’re made to fit a wide range of extension diameters, and can even come with the extension if you need it.  We also stock a number of adapter fittings; if you know what threads your air gun has (or if you can send us some photos) we can quickly & easily spec those out for you.

Convenient and inexpensive “thumb guns” with cross drilled nozzles (left) are compliant with the first part of OSHA 1910.242(b). Fitting one with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center) makes it compliant with the second part. A Model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle (right) makes it quiet & efficient.

We can provide a Chip Shield for most any device with a threaded fitting. I couldn’t find a way to re-use the non-OSHA-compliant nozzle that came with this gun (thank goodness.)

Another example of a larger air gun fitted with a more powerful cross drill nozzle (left) that can be made totally OSHA compliant with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center.) An EXAIR High Force Super Air Nozzle (right) keeps the power, while reducing noise level and compressed air consumption (right.)

Since 1983, EXAIR Corporation has been manufacturing quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products for industry (emphasis mine.)  If you have concerns or questions about safety in regard to your compressed air use, call me.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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VariBlast®Compact Safety Air Gun

EXAR’s VariBlast® Compact Safety Air Guns are small and lightweight air guns capable of handling the toughest of jobs. With its variable flow trigger being its greatest design feature, it can take on small jobs and even big ones! This means you can get different flow and force out of the same nozzle by just adjusting the amount you pull the trigger.

The VariBlast Safety Air Gun, when outfitted with an EXAIR nozzle is OSHA safe and CE compliant. 

VariBlast Safety Air Gun With Extension and Chip Shield

The VariBlast can also be customized by adding one of our many 1/8 NPT engineered air nozzles, a chip shield and even an extension pipe up to 72″ long.

 

Flat Air Nozzle, with Chip shield and extension
Back Blow Nozzle, with 6″ extension and Chip Shield

 

 

The VariBlast is easy to rebuild, every wear item is available in the 902001 rebuild kit. These parts can be used to rebuild any VariBlast Compact Safety Air Gun that, through use, has become worn. See this video to see how easy it is to rebuild this gun, and make it feel brand new!

If you have questions about the VariBlast or to discuss any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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EXAIR VariBlast® Safety Air Gun wins the Silver Award by Plant Engineering

VariBlast Safety Air Gun

EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983.  In that time, we have engineered many new products for new and existing markets that had better efficiency, versatility, and effectiveness.  To gauge how a new product is received by your peers, we like to send them to different committees for evaluations.  This year, we sent our VariBlast Safety Air Gun to Plant Engineering to compete against other new products in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries.  In the compressed air category, the EXAIR VariBlast Safety Air Gun won the Silver Award at the Plant Engineering Product of the Year event.

 

How was EXAIR able to achieve such a prestigious award?  Well, let me tell you how our newest safety air gun was able to receive this award.  I will discuss the features and benefits with the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, so you can decide for yourself.

To start, the unique feature that sets the VariBlast apart from other small air guns is the force variability.  Unlike the “all or nothing” blowing forces with most air guns, this valve is designed to control the opening to allow for a variable force with the same nozzle.  This will help you to not “overuse”  your compressed air blowing. The VariBlast Safety Air Gun is made from a durable cast aluminum construction for tough industrial use.  It has a rugged ergonomic grip with a user-friendly trigger.  The compressed air inlets are located in two different positions to best fit your application.  They have an easy storage handle to hang the Safety Air Gun nearby.  In addition to the VariBlast Safety Air Gun, EXAIR has options to enhance the features and benefits.  Here is a list of them:

Model 1103 – Super Air Nozzle

Air Nozzles:

Air Nozzles can make or break an air gun in safe, efficient and effective use.  EXAIR Air Nozzles are OSHA compliant for noise and dead-end pressure.  We offer nine different air nozzles with the VariBlast Safety Air Gun; making it very effective for a wide range of applications.

Chip Shields:

OSHA 1910.242(b) requires chip guarding when compressed air is used for cleaning.  EXAIR offers Chip Shields with the VariBlast Safety Air Guns to meet this requirement.  They are made from a polycarbonate disc which is practically unbreakable.  It protects the operator from any blow back of shavings and coolant.  They come standard with a durable rubber grommet that squeezes onto the extensions and can be adjusted for maximize protection.

Extension Pipes:

For those far away targets and hard-to-reach areas, EXAIR offers aluminum extension pipes to attach to the VariBlast Safety Air Guns.  They can range from 6” (15 cm) to 72” (183 cm) in length.  This light-weight and durable material allows for easy handling when reaching high above your head or spanning across unsafe areas.  With the EXAIR air nozzles at the end, the blowing force is not sacrificed as the back pressure will create a high velocity air stream.

Coiled Hoses:

To get the proper amount of compressed air from the piping system to the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers Coiled Hoses.  They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters).  They have swivel fittings to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking at the ends.  The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation.  This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur.

Regulator and filter

Filter Separators/Regulators:

To improve the use of the VariBlast Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers a series of filters and regulators.  The Filter Separators will remove dirty particles and liquid water from the compressed air that can affect the performance as well as contaminate the surface that you are cleaning.  The Regulators are used to control the amount of air pressure used by the VariBlast Safety Air Gun; making them even more efficient.  The idea for compressed air savings is to use the least amount of compressed air to do the job.  The combination of a filter and regulator will allow you to control the proper amount of clean dry air to be used.

Not all air guns are the same.  There should be a check list created prior to purchasing an air gun.  Is it safe, efficient, quiet, durable, ergonomic, and flexible?  The VariBlast Safety Air Guns meet every item on that list.  This is why the EXAIR VariBlast Safety Air Gun was awarded the Silver award by Plant Engineering.  If your current air gun does not meet these requirements, you may want to try the VariBlast Safety Air Gun.  You will not be disappointed.  If you are within the U.S. or Canada, we do offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee to try them out.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb