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

“(Stay) Set It And Forget It”

The Stay Set Hose is a popular, and practical, accessory for use with many of our blow-off products. Thread one end onto a compressed air supply connection, thread a Super Air Nozzle (or maybe even a small Air Amplifier or short Air Knife) onto the other end, and you’ve got an easily repositionable blow off…which will reliably hold its position.

That last part was of considerable importance to a caller I had the pleasure of assisting recently. Some of the CNC machines in their shop were fitted with flexible plastic tubing (commonly used for coolant & cutting fluid,) supplied with compressed air to blow off chips & debris from the tooling as the parts were being machined. They use our Super Air Knives in other blow off processes (where they used to use costly & loud open blow off devices,) and wanted to see if engineered products might reduce their compressed air consumption & noise levels in the machine shop too. (spoiler alert: Yes, they can.)

Thing is, they really needed the flexibility of the modular hose, but it’s not rated for the pressure supply required for a Super Air Nozzle. This is what makes our engineered products so efficient; they use the Coanda effect to amplify the compressed airflow..and they use the supply pressure to do that. So they can’t install a Super Air Nozzle on what they have now.

Enter the Stay Set Hoses: They’ll bend to direct the nozzles’ air flow right where you need it, and they’ll keep it there until you bend it again. Which (back to what’s most important to this caller) is exactly what they needed. With our efficient & quiet Super Air Nozzles, they’re saving compressed air and improving the conditions of their work environment. With the Stay Set Hoses, they’re able to quickly & easily rig the air flow before running a job, knowing they won’t have to worry about it until the job’s done.

EXAIR Stay Set Hoses hold their position as long as you need them to. All day, every day.

EXAIR Stay Set Hoses hold their position as long as you need them to. All day, every day.

“Set it and forget about it” is a benefit you can realize from many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products. If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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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

Improved Safety Benefits Employees & the Company

“Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility” is a slogan that companies around the world have adopted.

A refinery that processes palm oil from palm seeds had pipes throughout their facility to transport the oil. They would periodically have to clean the 10” diameter pipes as part of a maintenance program.  To do this, they would use a rubber plunger-like device called a pig to move through the pipe lines.  When they opened the piping system to install the pig, palm oil would leak onto the floor.  In their safety protocol, they would place adsorbent barriers around the spills and use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up the waste oil.  They would discard the liquid in a vat for disposal.  The wet/dry vacuum was limited in size to only hold 5 gallons because the operators would have to lift the container to dump the oil in the vat.  If the oil spills exceeded 5 gallons, then they would have to make multiple trips.  They wanted to get a better system as time was of the essence when you have oil on the floor.

6296 Deluxe RDV System

In speaking about their operations, they were needing to improve on their process and safety. I recommended the model 6296 Deluxe Reversible Drum Vac System.  This system uses a two-way pump and siphon tube that mounts into a 55 gallon drum easily without any modifications.  The pump uses compressed air, not electricity, to quietly generate a vacuum to a level of 96” of water. It does not have any moving parts, no motor or bearings to wear out, so it is very reliable and maintenance free.  The deluxe system comes with our Spill Recovery Kit for complete liquid pickup, a drum dolly, vacuum hose, and tool accessories with a holder.  In replacing their current system with the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac, they could now vacuum a larger volume of liquid during excessive spillage without stopping.  Once the waste oil was vacuumed and contained, they could then just push their drum to the disposal vat.  With a simple turn of the knob, the two-way pump changes from a vacuum system to dispensing the waste oil into the vat.  This removed the need to lift any containers which could cause back damage to the operator.

Easy to change the operation

Easy to change the operation

As stated in the OSHA website, “Businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses — expenditures that come straight out of company profits. But workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. In today’s business environment, these costs can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red.” Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and in using EXAIR products, you can do your part like the refinery above.

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

Part Ejection Improved by Choosing the Right Air Nozzle

Recently, I was able to work with a gentlemen from a stamping company that produces small metal stamped lids for the cosmetic industry.  He was frustrated because the current blow off setup, a copper tube and nozzle (shown below), was too weak and narrow to be effective with parts ranging from 1″ to 2.5″ wide.  Whenever a lid did not get completely discharged, the machine would jam and double hit on the next cycle, ruining (2) parts in the process, not to mention, potentially damaging the the tooling.

blowoff

Stamping Operation with Original Nozzle

After reviewing the process, which is very high speed, we wanted a strong, concentrated blast of air that matched the part profile to maximize the air flow contact patch.  We agreed the model HP1125 – 2″ High Power Flat Super Air Nozzle would be a good nozzle to implement and test.  In addition to the Nozzle, the customer ordered the model HP1132SS Shim Set, to allow for flow and force adjustment of the nozzle to obtain the best possible performance under production conditions.  The HP1125 nozzle provides 2.2 lbs of force with the standard .025 patented shim installed, and can be decreased or increased by changing the shim to .020″ or .030″ thick. Preliminary testing has proven successful, and reliability testing and data collection is underway.

2 Inch Flat

2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle

EXAIR has available, the Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide, a handy reference with 23 pages of technical data for OSHA safe nozzles and Safety Air Guns for every application imaginable.

blowoff guide

The EXAIR Air Nozzles Blowoff Guide

To discuss your part ejection, blowoff, cooling or drying application, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Excessive Noise Levels Cost You Health and Money

OSHA and the CDC make these statements about noise exposure. Did you know almost 30 million American workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels almost daily, with over 72% of those reported incidents happening in manufacturing environments? Noise induced hearing loss is the second most self-reported occupational injury and since 2004, over 125,00 workers have experienced some level of permanent hearing loss. Excessive noise levels can also reduce productivity, contribute to increased stress levels, communication errors and an irreversible condition called tinnitus or a constant ringing in the ears. In fact, disability claims associated to occupational hearing loss has risen to over $ 242 million per year.

30mill

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Is One Of The Most Common Occupational Diseases.

In effort to reduce worker exposure and increase safety, OSHA introduced Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a). As the standard reads, employees that are subjected to sounds levels in excess of 90 dBA, some type of engineered controls should be implemented by either using some form of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment, i.e. – earplugs, earmuffs, etc. or replacing the loud device altogether with an engineered solution that is designed to reduce the sound level. When a company is found to be in violation of the Standard, OSHA hands down costly fines, in some cases nearing almost $5,000. While providing PPE may seem like the inexpensive, “quick” fix, it actually could lead to more overall cost in the form of fines or claims, as now it is the responsibility of the operator to utilize the equipment provided. The better choice of the 2 options mentioned above, would be to replace with an engineered solution that is designed to lower the sound level.

OSHA Noise Level

Noise Level Chart per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a)

Take for example, a section of pipe with drilled holes across the length to cover wide area applications or an open end pipe or tube for more focused blowoff, both of which typically produce sound levels in excess of 100 dBA which would limit work exposure to only a couple hours per the above chart.

EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products are designed to meet or exceed this standard. Our products entrain large volumes of surrounding air across the profile of the device which helps to reduce wind shear, ultimately lowering the sound level. When considering replacing drilled pipe, take a look at our Super Air Knife. The Super Air Knife produces a much lower sound level at only 69 dBA which is well under the allowable exposure times set forth by OSHA. Depending on the pipe or tube size, these can quickly and easily be replaced with one of our Super Air Nozzles by just adding a fitting to the existing line. For instance, our Model # 1100 Super Air Nozzle, with a sound level of 74 dBA, again falls well within the OSHA Standard.

sound-level-comparison

Sound Level Comparison

In addition, we offer our Digital Sound Level Meter to measure sound levels ranging from 35 to 130 dBA. The unit features a backlit LCD display, fast and slow response times, Max hold and includes NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certification.

SoundMeter_new_nist225

Model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter

For assistance in gaining OSHA compliance relating to your compressed air needs, please give us a call.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

 

Quick, Cool, and Quiet – The EXAIR Adjustable Spot Cooler

I recently had the pleasure of assisting a caller with a cooling application. We’ve written before (more than once) about cooling applications & product selection, and I had a very similar conversation with this caller. Since the need was for cooling as quickly as possible to ambient temperature, the caller was keen on talking about Vortex Tubes.

This application entails operators placing small products, by hand, under the cold air flow for rapid cooling.  Now, a Vortex Tube can produce VERY low temperatures…down to -40F…so operator safety had to be addressed.  By keeping the Cold Fraction (the percentage of supply air flow which is directed to the cold end) high, we can also keep the temperature high enough to not present a hazard (i.e., frostbite) but still plenty low enough for effective cooling.

Since sound level was also a concern, we discussed mufflers…with Hot and Cold Mufflers installed on a Medium Vortex Tube (models 3215, 3225, or 3230, which were what we narrowed our discussion to,) a sound level of 81-84 dBA will be produced.  That’s within OSHA’s limits for 8-hour exposure, but isn’t exactly “communication-friendly” for operators that need to talk to each other on a regular basis.

The Model 3825 Adjustable Spot Cooler System incorporates the performance of the three Vortex Tube models that we were talking about into a convenient mag base mounted assembly, fitted with a cold muffler, flexible cold air hose, and additional sound level suppression to 72-74 dBA…which makes a significant difference in areas where operator conversation is critical.

EXAIR's Adjustable Spot Cooler provides cold air, on demand - quiet and easy!

EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler provides cold air, on demand – quiet and easy!

The temperature control knob allowed them to dial in the optimal cold air flow, keeping the temperature low enough, and flow high enough, for rapid cooling of the parts.

If you’d like to find out just how cool an EXAIR Vortex Tube/Spot Cooling Product can make your application, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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