NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls

Last year I hosted a Webinar about the NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls and compressed air safety! You can watch that here on our website!

The hierarchy of controls is a strategy that originates from NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. This hierarchy is their recommendation for increasing safety for personnel by taking specific steps and how each step increases safety moving from bottom to top of the pyramid. In this blog I will explain the main elements of the HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS and illustrate how to reach the highest level of control with important compressed air safety standards.

The least effective methods are Administrative Controls and Personal Protective Equipment (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 is the least effective method because the personnel themselves make the choice to wear them or not wear them in any particular situation. They can be trained on the risks of not using PPE equipment (ear plugs, gloves, respirators, etc.) but we all know it does not always get used. PPE can also 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 so the hazard is no longer part of the process.

EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, and eliminate, or substitute the hazards of compressed air use with relative ease. 

Home of Intelligent Compressed Air Products

Engineers can eliminate loud and unsafe pressure nozzles with designs that utilize quiet and intelligent compressed air products such as Air NozzlesAir Knives and Air Amplifiers. Also, unsafe existing products such as air guns, can be substituted with EXAIR engineered solutions that meet the OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b) and 29 CFR 1910.95(a).

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. EXAIR products can be easily substituted for existing, unsafe compressed air products in many cases. And to avoid the hazard altogether, remember EXAIR when designing products  or processes which require compressed air use for cooling, cleaning, ejection, and more. 

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

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Hierarchy of Controls Image:  used from  Public Domain

EXAIR Super Blast Safety Air Guns for Maximum Power

EXAIR offers 5 different styles of Safety Air Guns with a large variety of Safety Air Nozzles; VariBlast Precision, VariBlast Compact, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty and Super Blast.  They range from small precise blowing up to large surface cleaning.   First, the EXAIR Safety Air Guns are designed to meet OSHA standards for dead-end pressure and noise level.  Second, the engineered nozzles improve efficiency of compressed air use; saving you money.  In this blog, I will cover our largest air guns; the Super Blast Safety Air Guns.

The Super Blast Safety Air Guns are ideal for wide area blow-offs and far distances. They feature a comfortable foam grip and an auto shut-off trigger.  The trigger valve has a spring that will turn off the airflow if the gun is dropped, to prevent backlash or the hose flailing around dangerously. Aluminum extensions are available in 36″ (0.9 meters) or 72″ (1.83 meters) lengths for hard-to-reach areas.  These units use our larger Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Nozzle Clusters, providing forces levels from 3.2 lbs. (1.45 Kg) up to 23 lbs. (10.43 Kg).  Depending on which nozzle is fitted on the assembly, air inlets can range from 3/8 FNPT up to 1-1/4 FNPT.  

EXAIR offers two styles of nozzles in the Super Blast family; a Super Air Nozzle Cluster and a single Super Air Nozzle.  Both are designed to entrain ambient air at a ratio near 25:1.  That means for every 1 part of compressed air, the nozzle will bring in 25 parts of free ambient air.  This will reduce the amount of compressed air required.  The ambient air will add mass to give it a hard-hitting force.  The Super Air Nozzle Cluster has an aluminum body with multiple Zinc-Aluminum Safety Air Nozzles nested.  We offer a cluster with 4 nozzles, 7 nozzles, and 12 nozzles.  The air pattern is wide to help remove debris quickly.  The air blow guns with a single Super Air Nozzle are great for a more focused force at longer distances.  EXAIR offers five different nozzle sizes to create the largest force within our Safety Air Guns at 23 lbs. (10.43Kg) at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar).  Some applications would include cleaning large CNC tables, dump trucks, walls, ceilings, and sheets of materials.

For U.S. and Canadian customers, EXAIR will be giving away a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle with a purchase of a VariBlast Precision, VariBlast Compact, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, and Super Blast Safety Air Gun.  EXAIR will send a model 1126 nozzle, a $50.00 complimentary gift, with a qualified purchase online until September 30th, 2021.  EXAIR also 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, an Application Engineer will be happy to assist you. 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Industrial Air Gun Accessories For Safety And Convenience

The words “safety” and “convenience” are rarely synonymous. Many times, in fact, they are seemingly at odds with one other:

  • Decades of data absolutely prove the importance of wearing a seat belt in a motor vehicle. In the dead of winter, when I’m wearing a heavy coat and gloves, it can be cumbersome to pull that belt across me and fasten it without removing those gloves that are protecting my sensitive hands from the brutal cold. I do it anyway, and so should you.
  • I don’t own a boat, but I have friends that do, and I find it hard to pass up an invitation to spend a nice summer afternoon water skiing, tubing, or just cruising down the river. Life vests on a hot sunny day are perhaps just as cumbersome as seat belts. No matter how good you can swim, though, there’s a big difference between jumping in the water for a refreshing dip and being thrown into the water after a collision with an unseen object. If you’re unconscious, or even just disoriented, that vest will save your life.
  • If you work in an area where you’re supposed to wear safety glasses (even if they fog up) or ear plugs (actually, if they’re uncomfortable, you have the wrong ones…or you’re using them wrong), they’re a miniscule inconvenience compared to losing your sight or your hearing.

Notice I said “seemingly at odds” above, because safety doesn’t HAVE to be inconvenient. I could trade my old bulky insulated gloves for a newer pair made of thinner material that still have decent insulation. People who boat regularly will have properly sized life vests (instead of one-size-fits-most) with snap buckles (instead of pull straps). There are a number of different styles of safety glasses and anti-fogging treatments for the lenses, for long term use in most any environment. Likewise for hearing protection – whether you like the headset-style that covers the ears, or plugs that insert into your ear canals, there are comfortable designs, and some neat technology that cancels harmful sound frequencies so you can even carry on a conversation, even in a loud environment.

EXAIR Corporation has a long history of adding convenience to compressed air use, while remaining well within the confines of safety (that’s something we don’t cut corners on in our products, operations, or company culture) and efficiency. We’ve got accessories, add-ons, tools, etc., for most of our product lines. It’s quite prevalent in our Safety Air Guns product line, and for good reason – there are a number of areas where some flexibility regarding the use of handheld tools not only add convenience, but also contribute even further to their safe use. Consider:

  • Reach. When blowoff needs to happen inside, behind, under, or over an obstruction, extensions are available for any EXAIR Safety Air Gun, so operators can keep their hands free of the obstruction, especially if it’s hot, sharp (or otherwise potentially harmful) or just dirty or wet.
  • Cleanliness. While they’re usually specified to comply with OSHA regulations regarding proper chip guarding while using compressed air for cleaning, Chip Shields also prevent the nuisance of getting yourself dirty or wet from blown off debris. They’re available on all our compressed Air Blow Guns except for the Super Blast models.
  • Reach, part 2. A particularly nifty little option on the Soft Grip Safety Air Guns is the ability to use a Stay Set Hose (as opposed to a Rigid Extension) for extra reach. Let’s say you have to get back to, and behind, an obstruction for blowoff. Simply bend the end of the Stay Set Hose to the angle required, and you’re in business! They come in lengths from 6″ to 36″ long.
  • Stubborn debris. Among the new products that EXAIR has introduced over the past few years, this one is my personal favorite: the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper. We took our 2″ Flat Super Air Nozzle and put a steel scraper blade on it, which assists the air flow by scraping (as the name implies) caulk, gaskets, sealants, tape, paint, etc., off the surface, as the air flow blows it away! It’s the perfect “one-two punch” for applications like these.
In addition to a variety of engineered Air Nozzles, you can customize your EXAIR Safety Air Gun with Chip Shields, Extensions, Stay Set Hoses, etc., to meet the particular needs of a specific application.

If you already have serviceable air guns that operators are used to and comfortable with (first law of human nature is “change is bad,” right?), all of our Super Air Nozzles have NPT threads…you may only be an adapter away from installing them on your existing devices. Speaking of adapters, we also stock a number of the “usual suspects” – an EXAIR Application Engineer can help you determine what your air guns’ existing threads are.

Thumb guns are convenient and inexpensive. Ones with cross drilled nozzles (left) are compliant with the first part of OSHA 1910.242(b). Fitting one with an EXAIR Chip Shield (center) makes it compliant with the second part. A Model 1102 Mini Super Air Nozzle (right) makes it quiet & efficient.

EXAIR Corporation offers a broad selection of quiet, safe, and efficient compressed air products, and one of the most comprehensive selections of handheld solutions in the industry. Whatever your need for a Safety Air Gun is, we most likely have you covered. Call me; let’s talk.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Need to Remove Stubborn, Sticky & Difficult Debris from a Surface? Try this.

Scrape off, and blow away, stubborn debris with the Model 1244-48 Soft Grip Super Air Scraper.

EXAIR has designed a new type of nozzle called the Super Air Scraper.  This nozzle combines a scraping blade with our 2” Flat Super Air Nozzle.  Together, it creates a mechanical force with an air force to remove stubborn sticky material.  This patent-pending nozzle can be added to the EXAIR Soft Grip Air Gun to create a powerful scraping tool. 

Model 1144 Super Scraper Nozzle

Let’s breakdown the nozzle.  The Super Air Scraper nozzle is a model 1144 which has a ¼” NPT female connection.  The model 1144-A includes a ¾ – 32 UN adaptor for connecting to the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun extensions.  The scraper can be changed when worn with a replacement blade; model 902007.  To add flexibility to the Super Air Scraper, a shim set, model 1132SS, can be used to modify the blowing force.  With these combinations, the nozzle complements the scraper as an effective way to clean with compressed air. 

Soft Grip Super Air Scraper

To control the pressurized air to the nozzle, EXAIR attached the 1144-A Super Air Scraper to the Soft Grip Safety Air Gun, model 1244.  This gives a comfortable and ergonomic way to use and operate this product.  We offer different extensions for hard-to-reach applications ranging from 6” (152mm) to 72” (1,829mm) in length.  With the extensions that are 36” (914mm) and longer, EXAIR installed an additional foam grip sleeve.  This gives additional leverage for scraping material at a distance like at the floor level.  Chip Shields are also offered to prevent blow-back onto the operator.  You can view the details of the new product at this link on our website: Soft Grip Super Air Scraper

To give some ideas for applications, the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper can be used for removing tape, gasket material, caulk, adhesive, paint, labels, and more.  With the addition of air, the detached material is blown away during scraping, keeping the area clean to target the remaining “stuck” material.  If gummy or flaky substances are a nuisance for workers, the Soft Grip Super Air Scraper can keep the machine or work station clean and operational. 

Just like all cataloged items for EXAIR, we stock these parts for same day shipment with orders placed before 2 p.m. EST.  For U.S. and Canadian customers, we offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee to see how great this product can work for your application.  If you have sticky, flakey, or greasy substances that need to be removed, the Soft Grip Safety Air Scraper is up to the challenge.  If you have any questions about the product or your “gummy” situation, you can contact an Application Engineer for help. 

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