Know What to Look For – Are Your Compressed Air Guns OSHA Safe?

One of the easiest ways to find out if your compressed air guns are safe for operation is by looking at the nozzle.  First, take your current compressed air gun and disconnect it from the compressed air line.  Second, look directly into the end of the nozzle where the air comes out.  If you can see the inside of the nozzle, then your air gun or blow-off device is unsafe.  Nine out of ten compressed air guns are considered to be dangerous.  In this blog, I will go through the dangers and violations of compressed air guns and nozzles that are very common in the market place.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, is an organization that enforces standards for safe and healthy working environments.  They have training, outreach programs, and educational assistance for manufacturing plant.  But, they will also enforce these standards with heavy fines for violations.  The two most common violations with compressed air guns and nozzles are 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure/chip shielding and 29CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.  If you are unfortunate in receiving an audit, the OSHA agent will target your compressed air guns and blow-off devices.

Unsafe Nozzle

Here is the first example of a nozzle that I would like to discuss.  As you can see, there is only one opening where the air can come out from the nozzle.  Other types of nozzles that would fall into this category will include copper pipes, extensions, or worn nozzles.  They are dangerous as the compressed air cannot escape if it is blocked by your skin.  An air embolism could occur within the body which can cause bodily harm or death.  If operated above 30 PSIG (2 bar), these nozzles would violate the OSHA 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure.  This is a hazard which can be avoided by using EXAIR Super Air Nozzles and Safety Air Guns.  The nozzles are designed to utilize fins to allow air to escape and not penetrate your skin.  With EXAIR products, you will not violate this standard even if you go above the 30 PSIG (2 bar).

Safety Air Gun

To counteract the dead-end pressure violation, some nozzle manufacturers created a hole through the side of the nozzle (Reference photo below).  This will allow for the compressed air to escape, but, now the issue is noise level.  With an “open” section in the nozzle, the compressed air is very turbulent and very loud.  They state that 70% to 80% of all hearing loss within a manufacturing plant is caused by compressed air.  For this, OSHA 29CFR 1910.65(a) was created to show the maximum allowable noise exposure.  This chart shows the time and noise limits before requiring hearing protection.  The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are designed to have laminar flow which is very quiet.  With our typical Safety Air Gun, model 1210, the sound level is only 74 dBA; well under the noise exposure limit for 8 hours.

Unsafe Air Gun
Hearing loss is the best known, but not the only, ill effect of harmful noise exposure. It can also cause physical and psychological stress, impair concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents or injuries.

Why do I bring these points up?  Because safety is everyone’s responsibility.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, has an overview of how to handle hazards in the workplace.  They call it the Hierarchy of Controls (click).  This is a means to best protect workers from dangers.  The most effective way is by eliminating the hazard or substituting the hazard.  The least effective way is with Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.  For your unsafe compressed air nozzles and guns, EXAIR can help by substituting the hazardous air gun and nozzle with an engineered solution designed with safety in mind.

In my opening statement, I explained a quick and easy method to determine if your compressed air guns are dangerous.  To keep your company compliant and safe, EXAIR offers a variety of different types of nozzles and Safety Air Guns to best fit your requirement.  If you find that you are using hazardous blowing equipment, you can contact an Application Engineer to find a safe and effective alternative.

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

Safety Air Guns: Chip Shields, Extensions, and More

Over the last several weeks, you may have read blog posts regarding the EXAIR Safety Air Guns.  You can find the blogs here, here and here. We are also in the midst of a Safety Air Gun Promotion, please click HERE for more details on how you can get a free 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle. Today, I want to review a few available options for the Safety Air Guns.

Protect Workers From Flying Debris! – Chip Shields are durable polycarbonate shields that protect the operator from flying debris often seen when blowing off chips from machined parts. They are also useful to prevent coolant from splashing back, creating a mess during drying processes.

Chip Shields
Chip Shields

The Chip Shields are available for EXAIR’s VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. The Chip Shield can be used on Safety Air Guns with or without an aluminum extension. They may be purchased as part of a new air gun system, or retrofitted as a Chip Shield Kit.  Consult an Application Engineer for selection assistance.

 

If you have a blow-off process where the air is to be directed at a distance away from the operator, or into a hard to reach location an extension is the solution. Available in lengths from 6″ (152mm) to 72″ (1829mm), with sizes as shown below, a length to meet most any requirement can be found. To add an extension to an air gun, simply add -xx to the current part number.

extensions
Aluminum Extensions, Available in Sizes of 6″ (152mm) up to 72″ (1829mm)
1210-6-CS
Model 1210-6-CS, a model 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, with 6″ Extension and Chip Shield

And, if you need a 12′ coiled air hose, to use with your Safety Air Gun, we have them available and in stock. Available with 1/8 NPT, 1/4 NPT or 3/8 NPT male end swivel connections. Avoid tangled and messy air lines and keep things neat!

Coiled Hose
Coiled Hose, 12′ Long, With 1/8 NPT, 1/4 NPT or 3/8 NPT Male Swivel Connections

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can improve your process, feel free to contact EXAIR, myself, or one of our other Application Engineers. We can help you determine the best solution!

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

EXAIR Safety Air Gun Accessories Improve Effectiveness and Safety

Safety Air Gun with accessories

EXAIR offers 5 different styles of Safety Air Guns; Precision, VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty and Super Blast.   You can read more about the different styles of Safety Air Guns from a previous EXAIR blog “Not All Compressed Air Guns Are The Same” written by Justin Nichol. I will be targeting the accessories that can enhance the features of the EXAIR Safety Air Guns. These additions will make the Safety Air Guns more dynamic without sacrificing safety, efficiency, or durability.

Precision Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield
eg. 1408SS-CS

Chip Shields:

OSHA 1910.242(b) requires chip guarding when compressed air is used for cleaning. EXAIR offers Chip Shields with our Safety Air Guns to meet this requirement. They are made from a polycarbonate disc which is practically unbreakable and protects the operator from any blow back of metal shavings or coolant. They come with a durable rubber grommet that squeezes onto the extensions and can be adjusted to maximize protection. We offer Chip Shields for the Precision, VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns with or without aluminum extensions.

Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with extension.
eg. 1350-72

Extension Pipes:

For those far away targets and hard-to-reach areas, EXAIR offers aluminum extension pipes to attach to the 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 to reach high above your head or to span across unsafe areas. With the EXAIR air nozzles at the end, the blowing force is not sacrificed as the back pressure will generate a high velocity air stream. The aluminum extensions are offered with the Variblast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. The Super Blast Safety Air Guns has the option for two different lengths of extensions, 3 feet (91cm) and 6 feet (183 cm).

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

Stay Set Hose:

In certain situations, you may need a way to blow air around a corner or in a tight space. The Stay Set Hose gives you that possibility of manually adjusting or re-adjusting the nozzles to target the correct areas. The hose has a “memory” function, and it will not creep or droop until you physically move it again. They come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they are offered with the Soft Grip and the Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns.

Coiled Hose

Coiled Hoses:

To get the proper amount of compressed air from the piping system to the Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers a series of 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. We offer 3 different connection sizes of 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and 3/8” NPT. They can be used with our Precision, VariBlast, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns. With the proper size, the Coiled Hoses can connect easily to the Safety Air Guns and supply the required amount of air with a minimal amount of pressure drop.

Regulator and Filter

Filter Separators/Regulators:

To improve the use of the Safety Air Guns, EXAIR offers a series of filters and regulators. The filters will remove dirty particles and liquid water from the compressed air that can affect the performance of the Safety Air Gun as well as contaminate the surface that you are cleaning. The regulators can control the amount of air pressure used for the 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. If you only need 40 PSIG (2.8 Bar) to blow off an area, then you can save almost 40% of your compressed air as compared to doing that same job at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar). The combination of a filter and regulator will allow you to control the proper amount of clean dry air to be used.

 

All of our Safety Air Guns are fitted with our engineered Air Nozzles  which make them OSHA compliant for noise and dead-end pressure. With the accessories, you can optimize the use of the Safety Air Guns to better fit your application. If you need help in determine the correct Safety Air Guns and accessory items, you can contact an Application Engineer for help. If you are within the U.S. or Canada, you can take advantage of our 30-day unconditional guarantee to trial any of our stocked Safety Air Guns.

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

EXAIR Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun Reduces Noise Level and Saves Air!

IMG-20170719-WA0014
Inside of the customer’s fin press

Just this week I’ve been working with an aerospace manufacturer that had some concerns about a cleaning operation on one of their fin press machines used for a stamping process. After each operation, they need to blow out the dies to remove any residual oil and debris. They were currently using a ¼” open copper tubing operating at 90 psi. Their reason for contacting EXAIR was due to a recent OSHA compliance training that their production manager had attended. He learned about OSHA 1910.242(b), a directive that we’ve written about many times in the past, that states compressed air devices used for blowoff must maintain a dead-end pressure less than 30 psi. Additionally, the sound levels were far too high to adhere to OSHA directive 29 CFR 1910.95(a). This was a major concern for them and a common theme that we hear from many of our customers. As this manufacturer is clearly aware, fines associated with failing to comply to OSHA directives can be quite costly. Their failure to adhere to this and a few other directives led to a total penalty of $33,800.00.

1360_csbox
EXAIR’s Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield

After some discussion about the different types of solutions that EXAIR has to offer, we settled on the Model 1310-18-CS. At a sound level of just 74 dBA when operated at 80 psi, we were able to drastically improve upon the sound levels that he was previously experiencing. This was a very welcomed solution by his operators, as they were now able to clean out the dies without having to wear any hearing protection. The Chip Shield also added some additional protection so that no debris could come back towards the operator. In addition to addressing his sound level concerns, we were also able to save a substantial amount of compressed air. The 1310-18-CS will consume just 14 SCFM of compressed air at 80 psi. A ¼” pipe operated at this pressure will consume approximately 69 SCFM. This is an 80% reduction in compressed air usage for just one operation!!

If you have an application where sound level needs to be reduced or you’re looking to improve upon employee safety, EXAIR has the solution. Give us a call today to find out how we can implement a solution to keep OSHA inspectors at bay.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

EXAIR Back Blow Nozzle: An Overview

In certain applications such as blowing chips or debris out of a pipe or blind hole, it may not be possible to blow forward. The pipe may be too long, making it impossible to push the debris all the way down the pipe or the other end of the pipe may not be open. In either of these scenarios, the Back Blow Nozzle is the right tool for the job. An array of holes around the diameter of the Back Blow Nozzles provides a powerful 360° airflow pattern that will clear out any leftover coolant or chips from the machining process.

m4BB2017_1670x574
Small 1004SS easily clears debris

EXAIR has three different size Back Blow Nozzles; the 1004SS (M4 x .5), the 1006SS (1/4 NPT), and the 1008SS (1” NPT). The 1004SS is recommended for use on pipes as small as ¼” and up to 1”. The 1006SS can be used for a wide range of pipe sizes, from 7/8” up to 4”. The 1008SS nozzle offers the greatest overall force for stubborn or sticky materials stuck to the inside diameter of the pipe. This nozzle is suitable for use in pipes ranging from 2”-16”. As the Back Blow Nozzle will be blowing chips and debris back out of the pipe towards the operator, it is always recommended that a Chip Shield is used. The strong polycarbonate Chip Shield will keep them safe from flying debris and keep you in compliance with OSHA directive 1910.242(b). For visual representation of the performance of the Back Blow Nozzle, take a look at this short video clip that demonstrates its use.

All of EXAIR’s Back Blow Nozzles are available with extensions. For the 1004SS we have extensions from 6”-36”, and from 12”-72” for the 1006SS and 1008SS. The Back Blow Nozzle can also be installed on our VariBlast, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Guns. With such a wide range of available sizes and configurations, we can tackle just about any internal pipe cleaning application. If you have a process in your facility that may benefit from the use of one of these nozzles, give us a call and get one on order today!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Promo’s: Everybody Loves Free Stuff

I have been wanting to purchase a pair of good quality headphones for a while now and with vacation coming next week, I figured now was a good time to make my purchase. I was pretty set on the manufacturer but the tough choice for me was going to be if I wanted a set of earbuds (that fit directly in the ear) or a more traditional pair of “over the ear” headphones. smiley_face_headphones_tshirt-d23545082320430684226v7p_325I tried about 4 different pairs of over the ear units to see what the quality of sound was versus the feel/comfort and was pleasantly surprised but was still leaning towards earbuds. Unfortunately, due to health/cleanliness issues, you aren’t allowed to try on earbuds – which makes sense. So if I was going to go the earbud route I wanted to make sure I had all my questions answered so I decided to get a salesperson to assist me.

We went over features/benefits but this only made me question myself more. Seeing that I was struggling with a decision, the salesperson decided to make my choice a little easier – he mentioned that his store, along with the manufacturer, were offering a free promo but only if I purchased a set of earbuds (at a certain price of course). Due to the sound quality and trusted manufacturer, I was leaning towards a set of earbuds anyway, but hey – who doesn’t love FREE stuff? What they were offering was a free carrying case (not really free since it was already in the box), a free 2 year service agreement ($37 value) and a $25 gift card to their store.

Of course, I took advantage of their offer and made the purchase. After listening to the earbuds while I finished my packing, I couldn’t be happier with my selection.

At EXAIR, we occasionally run promotional offers too. From now through September 30th, 2014, if you purchase one of our Precision Safety Air Guns, Soft Grip Safety Air Guns or our Heavy Duty Safety Air Guns (with or without an Aluminum extension), you will receive a FREE Chip Shield.

Free Chip Shield Promo
The polycarbonate Chip Shield, meeting OSHA 1910-242(b) for compressed air use, offers the operator safe and smart protection from flying debris as well as any splashing. Not to mention that all of our Safety Air Guns incorporate one of our Engineered Super Air Nozzles that meet or exceed the same OSHA standard and reduce air consumption and sound level.

This offer is good for all three models of our Safety Air Guns:

  • Durable, Lightweight, Precision Airflow – The Precision Safety Air Gun is a small ergonomic gun good for light duty cleaning or blowoff and fits well in smaller hands. It also has a strong focused blast of air capable of reaching into tight spaces.
  • Versatile, Industrial Duty, Most Popular – The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun is our most popular gun cast from aluminum with a comfortable four finger trigger to reduce fatigue over long periods. A large variety of air nozzle options provides a solution for light to heavy duty blowoff applications.
  • Powerful, Rugged, Robust – The Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is the powerhouse you need for the harshest environments and stubborn blowoff applications. It is outfitted with many of our most powerful nozzles to provide the highest force upon your application.

To learn more about this offer, please visit our website www.EXAIR.com or if you have a specific application you would like to discuss, give us a call at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
JustinNicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Chip Shields Improve Safety

I have been around long enough to have been in the role of supervision when mandatory eye protection was instituted.  The first couple of years were particularly challenging getting employees to  wear their safety glasses. I was given every excuse imaginable as a reason to NOT wear the safety glasses. It wasn’t until we made them view a safety video that they became converts.

The video was a typical 1940’s style government production featuring a 1948 Chevy ambulance with a siren mounted on the front fender blaring away. Laughter filled the room until the scene in the operating room. The victim had a piece of aluminum shaving impaled in his eye. A magnet could not be used to extract the projectile so they had to slit the eyeball with a scalpel.  The room got absolutely dead silent and a couple of people fainted. Which proves a picture is worth a thousand words and any disciplinary action.

chip shield

Compressed air is commonly used to clean off parts and/or clear an area. The potential of a projectile  to ricochet back towards the operator is real. To provide added safety along with proper personal protection, EXAIR offers a chip shield option to our blow off guns. Chip Shields are made of a durable polycarbonate shield that protects operators from flying debris often associated with blowing chips off machined parts. Chip Shields are also great for keeping coolant from spreading everywhere during drying operations.

An EXAIR safety air gun can be ordered with a chip shield installed by simply adding a “-CS” to its part number.  Or, If you have a gun without a shield, they can be retrofitted. A rubber grommet is supplied to fit over your existing extension wand. For models that do not already have and aluminum extension in place, a short extension nipple and necessary adapter is provided.

Feel welcomed to contact us with any questions you may have.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Web: http://www.exair.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/exair_jp
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair