In February of 1972 OSHA released a standard to improve worker safety when operating handheld compressed air devices being used for cleaning purposes. This directive focuses around human skins permeability. That is, if you were to take an open ended pipe that had compressed air being discharged over 30 psig it can actually push through the skin and create an air embolism.
Air Embolisms are extremely painful, and in extreme cases, can be deadly. The risk associated with an air embolism can be mitigated by following the OSHA directive and reducing the downstream pressure of an air nozzle or nozzle pressure below 30 psi for all static conditions. Dead ending is when the passageway for the air becomes blocked and turns a dynamic flow of air into a static flow. This is in the event the pipe, nozzle, lance, etc. becomes blocked by a human’s body. This is a directive that all Intelligent Compressed Air® products from EXAIR focus on meeting or exceeding.
Our Air Nozzles and Jets video shows a great depiction of how this can be achieved with our engineered design of nozzles. The recessed holes and the fact that there are multiple passages for the air to exit are easy to see on the nozzle. Products like the Super Air Knife may not be so easy to see but the way the air knife cap overlaps prevents the Super Air Knife from being dead ended in the event an operator comes into contact with the discharge air.
Even though this directive was created in 1972 it continues to be at the forefront of industrial environments. I have even been to a custom artwork facility that was effected by this standard because they would use a handheld blowgun to remove dust and debris before matting and framing artwork with glass. They also removed dirt and dust from the frames before paint. This wasn’t your typical manufacturing environment yet they were still held to the same standards and were made safe by implementing engineered solutions such as our Super Air Nozzle.
If you would like to discuss how we can help increase your operator safety and ensure you meet or exceed OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b), please contact an Application Engineer today.
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.
The cold weather kept me indoors this weekend and I conceded to being a couch potato in front of the TV. One of the shows I watched was the lumberjack competitions – and let me tell you, those guys are crazy. Standing on a board wedged into a notch in the side of a tree, up 40 feet in the air and swinging an ax is just not safe. But, that was the way it was done in the early days before mandated safety rules.
Afterward, I watched a little news only to see hundreds of motorists stranded in their cars due to inclement weather. Folks were on their way home from work and ended up sleeping in their cars. I know it is recommended that you carry an emergency kit in your car but I never gave it any thought it would be needed it in the city. Then I was jolted from my couch when the smoke alarms went off. I forgot about my buffalo wings in the oven. Wow! What if I had left the house?
In the workplace, compressed air safety should be a top priority. Open compressed air lines are extremely noisy and can cause permanent hearing loss which is addressed OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a) regarding the allowable noise exposure. High pressure compressed air can pierce the skin and enter the blood stream, causing a dangerous blood embolism – this is why OSHA has standard CFR 1910.242(b), 30 PSI maximum dead end pressure for compressed air blow off.
One of the main issues with regulating all of your compressed air lines to less than thirty psig is, thirty psig does not provide a very effective blow off. With EXAIR’s engineered nozzles the air can be kept at higher line pressure and still meet or exceed the OSHA standard. Higher pressure equate to higher velocity and more force upon your application. Because of this, we can solve the application, keep compressed air to a minimum, and keep safety a top priority.
EXAIR nozzles are safe, provide very effective blow off, and reduce compressed air consumption. By design they produce output flow up to 25 times the compressed air consumed. For more information or help with your application call our application engineers at 1-800-903-9247