Here on the EXAIR Blog we frequently discuss dead-end pressure as explained in OSHA Standard 1910.242(b). This directive states that the when compressed air is used for cleaning purposes, the dead-ended pressure must not exceed 30 psig. When pressures greater than this occur, there is potential for an air embolism. This animation shows and explains how an air embolism can affect the body.
EXAIR’s Flat Nozzles adhere to this OSHA directive. The Flat Nozzles consist of three primary components: the body, the cap, and the shim. The thickness of the shim will dictate the flow and force through the nozzle and can be easily adjusted. The cap slightly protrudes from the body and shim, creating a gap when it is pressed up onto the skin. By ensuring that there is always an avenue for that air to escape, there is no potential for it to be dead-ended.
EXAIR’s flat nozzles are available in two sizes: 1” and 2”. Each size has a shim set that can be purchased for adjusting both the flow and force from the nozzle. These nozzles are available in both zinc/aluminum alloy as well as 316 grade Stainless Steel. They can be used by themselves, installed on our Safety Air Guns, or in conjunction with our Stay Set Hoses that allow for easy re-positioning.
You may have seen (or used) the plastic flat nozzles that come in a variety of different colors. EXAIR’s flat nozzle is a safe, efficient, and more robust replacement that will maintain a similar airflow pattern at a dramatically reduced operating cost. Where plastic nozzles may become damaged or break off, the rigid construction of EXAIR’s Flat Nozzle will not. In addition to be safe, durable, and reliable, EXAIR’s flat nozzles also offer a reduced sound level compared to these styles of nozzle. Reducing sound is another directive that OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 covers. If you’re using an unsafe nozzle in your facility, OSHA can quickly begin assessing fines for each violation. They don’t announce their visits beforehand, so make sure you do your due diligence and assess your compressed air blowoff products yourself!
If you would like to discuss how to make your compressed air use safer and more efficient, give us a call. Our team of highly-trained Application Engineers is standing by, ready to help you make the switch to an Intelligent Compressed Air Product.
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!