In 1972, the US Department of Labor’s Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) established Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) to reduce the outlet pressure to less than 30 psi, of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc. when being used for cleaning. The intent of this directive was to prevent injury to operators. They determined that 30 psi was the pressure in which the skin could be broken if the device were dead-ended against the operator’s body, causing an injury known as an air embolism…the dead-ended force of the air, under pressure, breaks the skin and introduces air flow inside the body. This is a VERY dangerous condition which can quickly lead to serious injury, possible stroke or ultimately death.
While OSHA doesn’t recommend any type or manufacturer of device, they do provide two methods you can follow to gain compliance.
The first would be to reduce the operating pressure below 30 PSI, as shown in the below line drawing. This, of course, limits the strength and usefulness of the exhausting air flow before it reaches the nozzle and before it is used upon the application.
The other method indicates using a 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. All of EXAIR‘s products are engineered to meet or exceed this Standard. In the case of our Super Air Nozzles, the air exits through a series of jets, recessed behind an array of fins, so the outlet holes cannot be blocked directly, any potential obstruction of the outlet air holes results in the air having an alternative route to avoid injury to operators and personnel. This allows the full pressure (the highest energy) to reach the nozzle and the application.
Open air lines and homemade blow offs violate OSHA standard 1910.242(b) because of harmful dead end pressures. If you would like to discuss how EXAIR products can help you gain OSHA compliance to increase personnel safety and avoid costly fines, please give me a call, I’d be happy to help.
From August 1st to September 30th, 2017, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with a purchase of a Precision, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun. We are promoting the importance of safety in the workplace with the EXAIR Safety Air Guns as well as the versatility of the different types of EXAIR nozzles. This promotional item, model 1126 nozzle, has a patented shim to blows a 1” wide stream of air to clean surfaces quickly and efficiently; a $43.00 complimentary gift (click on the link below).
Compressed air guns are one of the most commonly used pneumatic products in a manufacturing plant. They are used at workstations to blow off debris and to clean parts and tools. Because of the large quantities that are used in a plant; they are the most targeted by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Majority of the common brands of air guns fail to comply with two common violations, rule 29CFR 1910.95(a) for loudness and rule 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure. The reason is due to the nozzles that comes with the compressed air guns. Fines can get very expensive, and you can alleviate these penalties by purchasing an EXAIR Safety Air Gun. We are all responsible for safety; management, HSE department (Health and Safety Engineer), supervisors, and even the operators. Your compressed air guns should be assessed in your facility to evaluate your safe work environment.
With EXAIR Safety Air Guns, we supply an efficient, effective, and most important, safe air nozzle with all of our air guns. They are CE Compliant and exceed the OSHA sound level and dead-end pressure requirements. With substandard air guns, the operators would have to listen to loud noises all day and have to wear hearing protection. As for the dead-end pressure; the EXAIR nozzles are engineered to not allow the operator to completely close the end against the hand or skin. This is very important because if the pressure exceeds 30 PSIG, air can penetrate the skin and cause an air embolism. Some manufacturers place a restriction inside the air gun to comply with this standard, sacrificing the effectiveness of the blowing force. With our design, the compressed air is not able to be blocked; allowing the air to escape to atmosphere. Even with the compressed air system set to 100 PSIG, the pressure against the skin will not exceed 30 PSIG. Safety is a major concern for all of our customers and a priority for EXAIR in manufacturing our products.
As I mentioned above, the nozzles are one of the most significant parts in making a compressed air gun safe and OSHA compliant. In combining our engineered nozzles with a quality air gun, this makes the EXAIR Safety Air Guns one of the best products on the market. We currently have three different styles; the Precision, Soft Grip, and Heavy Duty. These Safety Air Guns are ergonomically designed to fit comfortable in your hand; and they come with quality trigger mechanisms and a durable valve assembly. The Precision Safety Air Gun is great for tight spaces and clearing out small holes. The Soft Grip Safety Air Gun provides extra comfort for long extended uses, and the Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun is a rugged, heavy duty industrial air gun. In combination with the EXAIR nozzles, the Safety Air Guns can offer another important attribute; we can save you money!!! Compressed air is very expensive to make, and with our Safety Air Guns, we use less compressed air but still create a strong blowing force. We do this by entraining the free ambient air into the air stream. If you increase the mass of air to the target, it will give you a hard hitting force to remove debris from surfaces or to clean tools and holes. The amplification ratio can be as much as 25 to 1. That means that for every 1 part of compressed air, the EXAIR Nozzles will entrain 25 parts of ambient air. So, the payback period for using an EXAIR Nozzle can be within weeks by the savings in the electrical cost. With the EXAIR products, we were able to partner with Energy Star and power facilities. For the amount of energy savings, some power companies offer rebates for using EXAIR products. We can offer our services to see if your local power company is participating in these rebates.
A substandard blow-off gun is unsafe, loud, waste compressed air, and increase production times. EXAIR Safety Air Guns can help improve these situations in all these areas. They are OSHA compliant, very safe and very quiet. They use less compressed air which saves you money. And with a variety of different nozzles, they can better fit your application to decrease down time. EXAIR offers a 30 day unconditional guarantee on our cataloged items to try. You can see for yourself on how effective these compressed air guns can be. If you need help to match the best Safety Air Gun to your application, you can contact an Application Engineer. And during the next two months, take advantage of the free 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle offer.
OSHA Standard 1910.242(b) discusses the use of compressed air for cleaning and blowoff. It states that the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes is prohibited if the dead-ended pressure exceeds 30 psig. This phrase means the downstream pressure of the air nozzle or gun, used for cleaning purposes, will remain at a pressure level below 30 psig for all static conditions. In the event that dead ending occurs, the static pressure at the main orifice shall not exceed 30 psi. If it does exceed this pressure, there is a very high potential for it to create an air embolism. An air embolism, left untreated, can quickly impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sometimes death. Take a look at the animation below to see how an air embolism can affect the body.
With this in mind, there are only two options for staying within compliance of this standard. Either install an engineered solution that will reduce the air pressure to less than 30 psig if dead-ended, or regulate the pressure below 30 psig. For the vast majority of operations, regulating the input pressure below 30 psig is useless. The force and flow from the nozzle at this pressure is greatly reduced and likely not enough to be effective in most applications. All of EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns are designed so that the flow cannot be dead-ended. The fins on the Super Air Nozzles are not only useful in amplifying the force by drawing in ambient air, but they also prevent an operator from completely obstructing the airflow.
In addition to being concerned about dead-end pressure, OSHA 1910.242(b) also states that compressed air used for cleaning should include effective chip guarding. By this, they mean that some method or equipment must be installed that will prevent chips and particles from coming back into the eyes or skin of the operator. In addition to offering OSHA compliant nozzles and guns, EXAIR also has Chip Shields that can be installed onto any of our Safety Air Guns. The polycarbonate shields protect the operator from any flying debris while performing a drying or blowoff operation. Simply add a “-CS” to the end of any Safety Air Gun Model number to have a Chip Shield installed on the gun.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not contain any provisions that allow for the approval or endorsement of equipment. Alteration or the misapplication of what was once a safe piece of equipment would create a dangerous scenario that is out of the control of the original manufacturer. Any nozzles or guns marketed as “OSHA approved” should immediately throw up a red flag. Identifying and implementing a safe, OSHA compliant solution rests in the hands of the manufacturer themselves. If you’ve got questions about compressed air safety or have an existing blowoff in place that does not adhere to this OSHA directive, give us a call. We’ll be sure to recommend a solution that will keep your operators and wallets safe!
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.
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.
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.