One of the most common and dangerous hazards that occur within a manufacturing and production facility is the noise level within the plant. Noise is measured in units known as decibels. Decibels are a ratio of the power level of the sound compared to a logarithmic scale. If an employee is an exposed for too long to high levels of noise, they can begin to lose their hearing. That is where the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 regulation comes into play.
This OSHA standard doesn’t just provide the protection against noise in the work place but monitoring as well. Companies shall provide at no cost audiometric tests for all employees to ensure that no damage is being to the hearing of all personnel. This program is to be repeated every six months and the results are to be made accessible to all personnel.
Hearing is very important to our everyday lives and must be protected due to the fact that once it is damaged hearing loss cannot be lost be repaired. The OHSA 29 CFR 1910.95 is there to protect and monitor this dangerous hazard in the workplace so that all employees can go home safe and sound.
Here at EXAIR we design all of our products to safe and quite. Weather it is using one of our mufflers for vortex tubes or E-vac’s or one of our super air nozzles we strive to meet and exceed the OSHA standard. One could also purchase EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter which can give a accurate and responsive reading of how loud your compressed air sources are.
For more information on EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter and any of EXAIR‘s Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Cody Biehle Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook
EXAIR offers the model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter. It is an easy to use instrument for measuring and monitoring the sound level pressures in and around equipment and other manufacturing processes.
Sound meters convert the movement of a thin membrane due to the pressure waves of sound into an electric signal that is processed and turned into a readable output, typically in dBA. The dBA scale is the weighted scale that most closely matches the human ear in terms of the sounds and frequencies that can be detected.
Noise induced hearing loss can be a significant problem for many workers in manufacturing and mining. To protect workers in the workplace from suffering hearing loss OSHA has set limits to the time of exposure based on the sound level. The information in the OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95(a) is summarized below.
The EXAIR Digital Sound Level Meter is an accurate and responsive instrument that measures the decibel level of the sound and displays the result on the large optionally back-lit LCD display. There is an “F/S” option to provide measurement in either ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ modes for stable or quickly varying noises. The ‘Max Hold’ function will capture and hold the maximum sound level, and update if a louder sound occurs.
If you have questions about the Digital Sound Level Meter, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” that details (5) different types of control methods for exposure to occupational hazards while showing the relative effectiveness of each method.
The least effective methods are Administrative Controls and PPE. Administrative Controls involve making changes to the way people perform the work and promoting safe practices through training. The training could be related to correct operating procedures, keeping the workplace clean, emergency response to incidents, and personal hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing after handling hazardous materials. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the least effective method because the equipment (ear plugs, gloves, respirators, etc.) can become damaged, may be uncomfortable and not used, or used incorrectly.
In the middle range of effectiveness is Engineering Controls. These controls are implemented by design changes to the equipment or process to reduce or eliminate the hazard. Good engineering controls can be very effective in protecting people regardless of the the actions and behaviors of the workers. While higher in initial cost than Administrative controls or PPE, typically operating costs are lower, and a cost saving may be realized in the long run.
The final two, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective but can be the most difficult to integrate into an existing process. If the process is still in the design phase, it may be easier and less expensive to eliminate or substitute the hazard. Elimination of the hazard would be the ultimate and most effective method, either by removing the hazard altogether, or changing the work process to the hazardous task is no longer performed.
EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, and eliminate, or reduce the hazards of compressed air usage.
In summary, Elimination and Substitution are the most effective methods and should be used whenever possible to reduce or eliminate the hazard and keep people safe in the workplace.
If you have questions about the Hierarchy of Controls and safe compressed air usage from any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
In physics, sound is a wave of pressure. It occurs in a medium, which can be a solid, liquid or gas. Sound cannot travel through a vacuum, such as in space. The wave of pressure reaches our ears and causes the ear drum to vibrate, which then goes through a complex process to ultimately be perceived as audible sound.
There are several characteristics of sound waves that can be measured and help define the sound. A sound wave can be visualized as a repeating sinusoidal wave (see below), and can be described by these properties – frequency and wavelength, amplitude, and speed.
Frequency is the number of cycles in 1 second, and is measured in Hertz (Hz)
Wavelength is the distance over which 1 cycle occurs, and for audible sound is between 17 m and 17 mm long
Amplitude is the measure of its change over a single period, and normally a measure of sound loudness
Speed is the distance traveled per unit time
The speed of sound in air can be found using the equation: a = Sqrt (γ•R•T)
where for air: γ = ratio of specific heats = 1.4, R = gas constant = 286 m²/s²/K T = absolute temperature in °K (273.15 + °C)
At room temperature, 22°C (71.6°F), the speed of sound is 343.8 m/s (760 mph)
Some interesting facts about sound:
Sounds generally travels faster in solids and liquids than in gases.
You can estimate the distance from a lightning strike by counting the seconds that pass between seeing the lightning flash and hearing the thunder. Take this duration an divide by 5 to get the distance away, in miles.
Humans normally hear sound frequencies between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz.
Sound waves above 20,000 Hz are known as ultrasound, and sound waves below 20 Hz are known as infrasound.
Sound travel through water close to 4 times faster then through air.
The sound of a cracking whip occurs because the speed of the tip has exceeded the speed of sound.
Sound that is too loud can be a problem. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set limits on the noise exposure that an employee can be subjected. Exceeding these values can cause permanent damage to your ears and cause noise induced hearing loss. So, knowing and reducing the sound levels within a manufacturing operation is important.
EXAIR has many products that can help reduce the sound levels in your processes. With products such Air Knives, Air Wipes, Air Amplifiers, Air Nozzles and Jets, and Safety Air Guns, strong, quiet and efficient blowoff, drying, and cooling can be performed.
If you have questions about sound and keeping your sound levels in check or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Inexpensive air guns can be picked up just about anywhere, and you generally get what you pay for. Most will be very noisy and waste lots of compressed air. And many will be unsafe, violating two of OSHA’s standards put in place to protect worker safety. The first is Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a) which sets limits to the maximum noise exposure, and the second is Standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) which says that the nozzle cannot be dead-ended, or exceed a 30 PSIG pressure limit.
These guns may seem like a perfect fit for a handheld blowoff application. The truth is, the cost saved up front will easily be paid throughout the cost of ownership. This is due to the lack of an engineered nozzle which meets and exceeds the OSHA standards mentioned above. The “cheap” guns often have a cross drilled hole to meet or exceed the OSHA standard for dead-end pressure. While this may be true, it causes a large wind sheer which escalates noise levels to well over the allowable noise level exposure set by OSHA. These tips sometimes offer large force outputs because they are equivalent to an open pipe. We have publicized numerous times about how an open pipe blow off does not permit pressure to be utilized all the way to the point of blowoff, and is also a waste of energy.
In order to determine how much compressed air your current blow guns utilize, the level of noise they product, and the sound level they produce, consider taking advantage of the EXAIR Efficiency Lab. The Efficiency Lab is a free service that you can read more about here.
An EXAIR Safety Air Gun is engineered and designed to comply both of the OSHA standards mentioned above, ensuring safe operation for company personnel. On top of the safety designed into the guns, we also ensure all of our guns are efficient by offering only engineered nozzles on them.
EXAIR offers (4) types of Safety Air Guns – the VariBlast, the Soft Grip, the Heavy Duty, and the Super Blast. Each type of Safety Air Gun is offered with a plethora of nozzles, as well as varying length extensions, with or without the Chip Shield.
We invite you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus. Click here for more details about this special promotional offer.
From August 1st to September 30th, 2018, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with the purchase of any promotional VariBlast, Soft Grip, or Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun. EXAIR is stressing the importance of safety in the workplace with the EXAIR Safety Air Guns as well as the versatility of the different types of EXAIR Super Air Nozzles.
This promotional item, the model 1126 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle, has a patented shim to blow a 1” wide stream of air to clean surfaces quickly and efficiently and is a $45.00 USD value. For more details on the Promotion, click on the photo/link above. For more information about the Flat Super Air Nozzles, click HERE.
Inexpensive air guns can be purchased just about anywhere- online, via catalogs, and through industrial supply companies. Typical quality is less than ideal – broken triggers, leaky valves – a short lifespan in an industrial setting are merely a few of the issues observed. Most are loud and inefficient – they just blow large amounts of compressed air, and at noise levels that violate OSHA requirements. Some may even generate dangerous dead end pressure situations that that can result in serious or fatal injuries if blocked.
EXAIR’s Safety Air Guns have been engineered and designed to eliminate these issues. They are durable for use in industrial situations and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. With an EXAIR engineered air nozzle, each model provides top performance by entraining large volumes of surrounding air into the air-stream. Operation is assured to be safe along with low compressed air consumption and noise levels. Due to the design, the airflow that exits the nozzle cannot be blocked, as required by OSHA Standard 29 CPR 1910.242(b).
The VariBlast style of safety air gun offers variable force based on the range of trigger pull. Force can be varies, form a light breeze, to full force maximum output. This cast aluminum air gun can be fitted with any of the EXAIR 1/8 NPT engineered air nozzles.
The Soft Grip style of safety air gun has a durable cats aluminum body suited for rugged, industrial use. The ergonomic design has a soft vinyl cover, a large trigger for easy operation, and a hanger hook for easy storage.
The Heavy Duty style of safety air gun is powerful with a durable aluminum cast body and ergonomic composite rubber grip, best suited for rugged industrial environments. Hours of fatigue free operation are possible.
With all of the Safety Air Guns styles, Chip Shields and Extension Pipes are available, from 6″ to 72″ in length.
With many nozzle options, from a whisper quiet 58 dBA and 2.5 SCFM of flow up to 60 SCFM and 87 dBA (still below the OSHA 8 hour noise level threshold) there is a model that will fit practically any application. Application Engineers are available by phone, email, and chat to review your specific blow off needs, and help to select the best possible solution available.
We invite to you to try out an EXAIR Safety Air Gun, and get the free 1″ Wide Flat Super Air Nozzle as a bonus.
Keeping noise levels in check and at safe levels is very important to ensure employee safety and well being. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) through standard 29 CFR-1910.95(a) has studied the situation and set Maximum Allowable Noise Exposure limits in Hours per Day based on the Sound Level, in dBA, of exposure.
For existing processes, a Digital Sound Meter is a valuable tool to measure the sound level to ensure that the source of loud noises can be quickly identified and isolated for immediate corrective action.
For new processes, or changes to an existing process, it is important to estimate the sound level prior to installation and start-up, so that precautions can be taken as needed.
For example, let’s say we are going to add a blow off station to clean off a part on a conveyor to improve the process and increase the throughput. A typical set-up might be a 12″ Super Air Knife (model 110012) blowing off the top and a pair of Super Air Nozzles (model 1100) to blow off the sides.
If we look at the performance data for the (2) different blow off devices, we find that the Super Air Knife is rated at 69 dBA and the nozzles at 74 dBA, when operated at 80 PSIG of compressed air supply.
When asked, “what is the sound level for (1) of the knives, and (2) of the nozzles” a little Acoustic Engineering is in order. The decibel scale is logarithmic, and determining the total sound level when all (3) devices are in operation is not as easy as adding up the three sound level values (which would equal 218 dBA, way off the charts!). Thankfully, both the actual sound level and the numerical value are determined another way. I’ll spare you a lot of the math but the equation is as below.
… where SL1, SL2, SL3, … are the sound levels in dBA of the each sound makers, for as many that are being combined (in our example SL1 = 69, SL2 = 74 and SL3 = 74)
Plugging in the numbers into the equation, the combined sound level works out to be a quiet 77.65 dBA — well within the OSHA limit for exposure for a full 8 hour period.