Engineered Air Nozzles Reduce Noise Levels and Outlet Pressure, Meeting OSHA Requirements

“My operators are complaining that our air guns are too loud, how can you help me?” – is a very common inquiry we receive here at EXAIR on almost a daily basis. Many open end blowoffs or air guns fitted with nozzles that have cross drilled relief holes create high pitch wind shear, resulting in excessive noise levels, sometimes exceeding 100+ dBA. This not only is a safety concern but also an OSHA violation.

Variety of Air Nozzles that produce dangerously loud noise levels

Loud noises and the length of exposure time can lead to significant health concerns such as long term hearing loss, increased stress levels and potential injury due to lack of concentration. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) as a way to protect workers from job related injuries associated to potentially dangerous sound levels. Per the Standard, at 90 dBA an operator is limited to a maximum of 8 hours of constant exposure. As noise levels increase, the allowable exposure time decreases, in some cases slowing production, costing a company on their bottom line.

 

EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are engineered so they entrain surrounding air across the profile of the nozzle, which produces a smoother airflow, ultimately reducing wind shear, resulting in much lower sound levels, meeting the OSHA Standard.

Illustration showing the air travel of our Super Air Nozzles

 

In addition, our Air Nozzles also meet the OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) for 30 PSI dead end pressure. All of our engineered Air Nozzles provide a relief or a safe path for the air to exit if the nozzle were to be blocked or pressed against an operator’s body so the exiting air pressure will never reach 30 PSIG.

All of EXAIR’s Air Nozzles are available with standard NPT threads to easily adapt to existing air guns. We also off our full line of Safety Air Guns which are fitted with our engineered nozzles, providing an “off-the-shelf” OSHA compliant solution. For help selecting the best product to replace your existing device or if you have a new application you would like to discuss, give us a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Explanation of OSHA Standard 1910.242(b)

Open air lines and homemade blow offs violate OSHA standard 1910.242(b) because of harmful dead end pressures. In 1972, OSHA established Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI with the intent to protect workers from serious injury. They determined that when dead-ended against the skin, if the outlet pressure reached 30 PSI 0r higher,  it posed a risk of entering the bloodstream through the skin. This is commonly referred to as an air embolism – a serious condition which can be life threatening. Once air has entered the bloodstream, it can restrict the free movement of blood throughout the body, disrupting normal heart function, leading to abnormal heart rhythm, possible lung or brain damage, cardiac arrest, stroke or possible death.

OSHA explains that you can use compressed air for cleaning purposes, as long as the outlet or source is fitted with some type of relief device that drops the outlet pressure to below 30 PSI if dead ended. There are basically two ways to go about gaining compliance. The first is to regulate the operating supply pressure to less than 30 PSI, assuring that the outlet pressure doesn’t exceed the threshold. While this does comply with the Standard, it can negatively affect the performance by reducing the strength of the outlet flow, limiting the usefulness of the blowoff device.

The other method is to use some type of nozzle which includes a pressure reducer or a relief device which will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 PSI if the nozzle is dead ended.

For example, EXAIR engineered air nozzles are designed so the outlet holes cannot be blocked directly. Any potential obstruction of the outlet air holes results in the air having an alternative exit path to avoid injury to operators and personnel.

sag-osha-compliant

With our Super Air Nozzles, the air exits through a series of jets, recessed behind an array fins so the exhausting airflow can never be blocked.

With the design of our Super Air Knife, the cap overlaps the body, leaving a gap on both sides of the knife, allowing the exhausting air to safely vent.

osha-sak

Picture of the Super Air Knife, showing how the cap overlaps the body and cannot be blocked, providing a safe exit path.

ALL of EXAIR‘s engineered products incorporate these principles, providing some type of relief, allowing for the air to safely vent well below the 30 PSI requirement, meeting and in many cases, exceeding the OSHA Standard.

To discuss how EXAIR can help you gain OSHA compliance to improve operator safety, avoid costly fines and improve overall efficiency, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

EXAIR Air Guns Increase Safety And Reduce Air Use

Many times we receive calls from customers that fall right in line with our focus here at EXAIR  – providing Intelligent Compressed Air Products that improve overall safety for operators and plant personnel in industrial operations as well as reduce compressed air usage, ultimately lowering energy costs. Such was the case last week when I received an inquiry from a customer who was looking for a handheld device that could easily attach to their existing air hose to replace the loud and inefficient homemade air nozzles they are currently using to blow off steel chips and coolant from their saws and drills. Their current set up includes a combination of smashed air guns, similar to the one shown below, some small open tubes and cheap plastic nozzles. The blowoffs were working but their operators were starting to complain about excessive noise during operation and notice the compressor in the area was running continuously during the cleaning cycle. Their first proposed solution was to lower the supply pressure which did lower the sound level and air usage somewhat, but now the exiting airflow wasn’t powerful enough to clear the debris. After doing an internet search they decided to reach out to EXAIR for assistance.

crushed-gun

Crushed guns create high pitch wind shear and provide no relief path for the air to exit safely

All of the Safety Air Guns we offer utilize our Air Nozzles which are engineered to meet or exceed OSHA Standard CFR 29 – 1910.95(a) for allowable noise exposure levels. As the Standard reads, when employees are subjected to sounds in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be used to lower the sound to a permissible level. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can result in serious health issues, like tinnitus or a constant ringing of the ears, as well as stress and reduced productivity. In addition, our engineered Air Nozzles cannot be dead ended, meeting OSHA Standard 1910.242(b). With the design of our Air Nozzles, there is always a safe path for the air to exit so the outlet pressure will not reach 30 PSIG if the nozzle exhaust were to be blocked or pressed against the skin.  Due to this design, our units are safe to operate at higher pressure, resulting in a high velocity, forceful airflow.

1210

Model 1210 – Soft Grip Safety Air Gun

For this application, I recommended the customer use our Model # 1210 Soft Grip Safety Air Gun. This particular unit incorporates our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle which produces a low sound level of 74 dBA, well within the OSHA guidelines, and consumes only 14 SCFM @ 80 PSIG while having the necessary power to solve their application.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Compressed Air Gun’s Many Forms Solve Many Problems

Have you just glanced around your manufacturing plant? You usually always see either the “curly” yellow hose or a red rubber hose with an air gun attached to it.  They hang at work stations, machines, packaging areas, and even in obscure places.  The reason that I bring this up is for safety reasons.

Recently we had a medium-sized manufacturing plant that was audited by OSHA. One of the first violations that OSHA found was with their compressed air guns with the typical brass pipe with the hole going through the side (one of the most typical types of nozzle).  It violated code 29 CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.  The company had to make a choice to either purchase hearing protection for the operators or to find an alternative product.  They contacted us because we could reduce their noise level.  I suggested a Super Air Nozzle, model 1100 for their application.  When they attached our Super Air Nozzle into their air gun, they quickly heard the difference with the low noise.  With the added benefits of quality, high force, and meeting all the safety requirements, they decided to purchase the nozzles with our Safety Air Guns.  They ordered 90 pieces of our Soft Grip Safety Air Gun with Chip Shield, model 1210-CS.  This took care of the OSHA violation, and the operators were very happy with the product.

Model 1210-CS

Model 1210-CS

Another company was using compressed air with a ¼ turn valve attached to a 36” (91 cm) copper tubing. They used this device to reach into areas to blow off chips.  The Safety Compliance Officer was familiar with OSHA 29CFR 1910.242(b).  The regulation references chip shields and using pressures below 30 psig (2 bar).  Compressed air can enter the blood stream through the skin with pressures above 30 psig (2 bar) in a dead-end occurrence.  To keep his workers safe, he mandated a maximum supply line pressure of 30 psig (2 bar) throughout the plant.  This increased the cleanup time for an operation as the force was reduced greatly.  The Safety Compliance Officer contacted us about our Safety Air Guns.  I explained that with our nozzles, they are engineered to operate at higher supply line pressures and still be below the dead-end pressure requirement of 30 psig (2 bar).  With our design, it keeps the surface of your skin from blocking the air openings, like you can do with a copper tubing.  They ordered 25 pieces of our Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with a 36” (91 cm) extension and Chip Shield, model 1310-36-CS.  The operators were happy with the durability of the gun and with the ability to increase the air pressure for faster cleaning.  The Safety Compliance Officer was happy to meet the OSHA standard and to keep his workers safe.

Model 1310-36-CS

Model 1310-36-CS

EXAIR offers a variety of different types of nozzles and Safety Air Guns to fit the requirements of your applications. All of our nozzles are safe, quiet, and powerful.  We offer them in different materials from aluminum/zinc, stainless steel, and PEEK.  They are designed to entrain ambient air to save compressed air and money.  As a note, an air gun is only as good as the nozzle it is using.  Many air guns come with a very inexpensive brand of nozzle.  They are typically very loud and very inefficient.  I always like to use the analogy of a paint sprayer.  No matter how good the spray gun is, if you have a poor nozzle, you will end up with many flaws in your paint.  The same can be said with compressed air guns.

To keep your company compliant and safe, you can always contact an Application Engineers to help pick the correct product for you.

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

OSHA Violation?

You may have had a visit from OSHA (or other regulating authority) in the past. We have had them here and we also speak to customers daily who have had the pleasure. Typically our customers need to address a pressure or noise violation, and need help finding the right product to get them right with OSHA.

Recently, I spoke with a customer that was visited by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).   If you do not know, OSHA is a federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health.   In order to protect workers, they can enforce fines and penalties for violations.  This customer had a very common violation with their compressed air guns.  They were too loud, and they may not meet the dead-end pressure requirement.  Many companies will modify their compressed air guns to better fit their application.  The problem occurs when they modify them to the point that the products no longer meet the OSHA standards.  You have to make sure that you meet 29CFR Part 10910.95 (a), which addresses the maximum allowable noise exposure your personnel can experience, and 29CFR Part 1910.242(b) which addresses the maximum pressure allowable at the outlet of an air product.

My customer sent me a picture of the compressed air gun that they were currently using (shown below).  The problem was the noise level was too high.  With this “open pipe” design of a nozzle, the noise level was exceeding 100 dBA.  This was a major concern.  The number of hours that an operator used this noisy air gun exceeded the OSHA exposure limit.  The customer called EXAIR because he needed to replace his existing air guns with quiet safety air guns.  The main component of an air gun is the nozzle.  It is like buying a great paint gun, and if the spray nozzle is cheap, you cannot lay a nice spray pattern of paint.

Compressed Air Gun

Compressed Air Gun which produced a noise violation. 

In his application, he needed 6” (152mm) to reach into and around his product.  I suggested a model 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with a 6” extension.  With the model 1100 Super Air Nozzle attached, the noise level was decreased to 74 dBA, and if checked by OSHA, it will not exceed the 30 PSIG pressure standard either.  With the unique design of the nozzle, it entrains ambient air to help create a powerful force to remove the chips.  With the 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, the customer was happy and OSHA was happy.

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, does not produce a noise violation. 

We are all individually in charge of safety.  To help meet the OSHA standards, EXAIR has a variety of Safety Air Guns and nozzles to make your operation quiet and safe.   It can become very costly if you are in OSHA violation.  If you need help in determining which product would best fit your application, you can contact us at EXAIR at 800-903-9247 and speak to one of the Application Engineers.

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

Intelligent Compressed Air Products: Pulling In Free Air

Home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products

EXAIR is the home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products.

What is an Intelligent Compressed Air product? What makes it intelligent? Compressed air is typically a manufacturing facility’s most expensive utility. A standard cost is $0.25 per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) produced. Any pipe, manifold, or fitting can be modified to blow compressed air, but these homemade blow offs will be very noisy, waste a tremendous amount of compressed air and create an OSHA violation. In contrast EXAIR’s intelligent compressed air are engineered solution are quiet, use a minimal amount of compressed air and comply with OSHA safety standards.

Let’s take EXAIR Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle as an example. Connecting it to a 1/4 NPT fitting, will produce 13 ounces of force on a target when mounted twelve inches away, and use 14 SCFM of compressed air. To produce so much force using that little air, the Super Air Nozzle must be precisely designed and manufactured to maximize the entrainment of ambient air.

With the air nozzle we use compressed air to induce a primary air flow. This primary air flow is a high velocity jet of air that create low pressure area around the primary airflow entraining the ambient or free air. These air streams combine past the tip of the nozzle creating a powerful blast of air. The Super Air Nozzle can entrain air up to a ratio of 25 parts of ambient air moved for every 1 part of compressed air.  All of our Super Air Nozzle create this level of air entrainment.

AirflowAnimation

EXAIR Super Air Nozzle entrains ambient air up to a 25:1 ratio

In addition to entraining a significant amount of air, the Super Air Nozzle also reduces the noise level. Most homemade nozzles are not well constructed so, the hole(s) that allow the air to escape may have sharp jagged edge which will induce noise or turbulence. Even commercial nozzles with cross drill holes create a tremendous amount of wind shear which leads to an ear splitting compressed air squeal. The smooth design of the Super Air Nozzle creates a laminar flow of air that reduces the noise of the nozzle to 74 dBA. For reference a 1/4″ open tube can easily create noise levels over 100 dBA. Using a compressed air nozzle, can greatly reduce the amount of noise in and around your shop.

Finally, EXAIR Super Air Nozzle complies with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.242, which requires that all nozzles that use compressed air over 30 PSIG must provide a point of relief in case the nozzle is dead ended. EXAIR Super Air Nozzle uses multiple orifices that are recessed, so that the air always has a path of escape. Many homemade nozzles do not have any provision to protect from dead ending, which means they do not comply with the OSHA standard.

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are an important upgrade from a homemade nozzle and many times an upgrade for a commercial nozzle, because they entrain ambient air, reduce noise level, and comply with OSHA regulation.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_DW
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com

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