I have seen over the years where OSHA inspectors has visited manufacturing plants for violations. One of the more common areas that they review are compressed air guns because many of them are very dangerous for Dead-End pressure and noise levels. All of EXAIR Safety Air Guns are OSHA compliant. But there is an additional OSHA guideline 1910.242(b) that deals with Chip guarding and shields for cleaning purposes. With these types of applications, EXAIR offers Chip Shields; either as an option with our Safety Air Guns; or as Chip Shields only, or as a Chip Shield kit. In this video, I will go over the Chip Shield Kits that will add a chip shield to your existing EXAIR Safety Air Gun.
When it comes to resources, here at EXAIR we always try to stay on the forefront of availability, quantity, and quality. This why we have released yet another amazing resource to our site. The EXAIR Whitepapers section is the newest knowledge sharing section of our platform.
The Whitepapers section is going to house PDF files which contain in depth, subject matter expert explanations for topics common within industry. This library will also continue to expand over the years just as our blogs, videos, and even our product offering does. Currently, you can gain access to the library after registering for our site and select from a number of topics. My personal favorite is: Understanding Compressed Air Safety and Savings.
This file can easily be downloaded then shared throughout the facility to anyone that has a hand in utilizing compressed air, or implementing point of use applications. This will help to educate on the potential uses as well as safe and efficient methods to perform tasks at hand.
Best of all, the PDF’s are actually interactive and linked directly to our site which easily lets the reader transition to the location where the most information available for specific products is located. Then, should questions arise, you can easily select to chat with an Engineer or even select one of us to email from the contact us page.
If you would like to discuss any of the EXAIR Whitepapers, point of use applications, or any EXAIR product, please feel free to contact us, we’re always here to help.
At EXAIR, we have a statement that says, “Safety is everyone’s responsibility.” As a corporation, EXAIR builds its name around this by manufacturing safe and protective compressed air products. In the United States, we have an organization called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, that enforces governmental directives for safe and healthy working environments. They do training, outreach programs, and educational assistance for manufacturing plants to reduce injuries and fatalities. They can also enforce these directives with heavy fines for violations. With the compressed air system, the two most common violations are 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure/chip shielding and 29CFR 1910.95(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure.
Above is an example of a nozzle that is dangerous. As you can see, there is only one path where the air can pass through and this path could be blocked. Other similar types of blow-off devices that would fall into this same group would include copper tubes, flexible lines, and open pipes. They are dangerous as the compressed air cannot escape if it is blocked by your body or skin. If operated above 30 PSIG (2 bar), the air from these nozzles could penetrate the skin and create an air embolism within the body, which can cause bodily harm or death. This is a hazard which can be avoided by using EXAIR Super Air Nozzles and Safety Air Guns. The nozzles are designed with fins, which allow the air to escape and prevent blockage of the airflow. So, you can use the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles safely above 30 PSIG (2 bar) and remain OSHA safe.
To counteract the dead-end pressure violation, some nozzle manufacturers create a hole through the side of the nozzle (reference photo above). This will allow for the compressed air to escape, but now the issue is noise level. With an “open” hole in the nozzle, the compressed air is very turbulent and very loud. The CDC reports that in 2007, “82% of the cases involving occupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector.” Compressed air and pneumatic equipment are significant contributors to the noise exposure. OSHA created a chart to show the maximum allowable noise exposure. This chart shows the exposure time and noise limits before requiring hearing protection. The EXAIR Super Air Nozzles, Super Air Knives, and Super Air Amplifiers are designed to have laminar flow, which makes them very quiet. As an example, the model 1210 Safety Air Gun has a sound level of only 74 dBA, well under the noise exposure limit for 8 hours.
NIOSH created an overview of how to handle hazards in the workplace. They call it the Hierarchy of Controls to best protect workers from danger. The most effective way is by eliminating the hazard or by substituting the hazard. The least effective way is with Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE. For unsafe compressed air nozzles and guns, the proper way to reduce this hazard is to substitute it with an engineered solution.
One of the last things that companies think about when purchasing compressed air products is safety. Loud noises and dead-end pressure can be missed or forgotten. To avoid any future fines or having to purchase additional personal protective equipment (PPE), it will be less expensive and a preferred safety method to purchase an EXAIR product. As in that above Hazard Hierarchy of Controls chart, EXAIR products are that engineered solution. If you would like to improve the safety in your facility, move up to an engineered solution, and reduce energy costs; an Application Engineer at EXAIR can review your current blow-off devices. Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility.
EXAIR’s new VariBlast® Precision Safety Air Guns provide a focused blast of air capable of handling tough jobs with remarkable strength. This CE compliant, lightweight air gun uses an engineered valve for variable flow. It can produce an adjustable force upon a target simply by pulling the trigger to a variety of positions. You can generate higher or lower force as needed for an application.
A comfortable full-finger trigger and a convenient hanger loop are built-in to the Variblast Precision Safety Air Gun. It has a ¼” NPT female compressed air inlet at the base of the handle with an option for a BSP threaded adapter. One of the unique features is the replaceable extensions. They come standard with a 6” (152mm) extension. For greater reach, we offer a 12″ (305mm) or a 20″ (508mm) extension for longer reach. The body is made of high-impact, glass-reinforced nylon to resist breakage. They can also be outfitted with an impact-resistant polycarbonate Chip Shield. In combination with the EXAIR Safety Air Nozzles, the airflow that exits the nozzle can’t be blocked, assuring safe operation and compliance with OSHA standard 1910.242(b). Also, the Precision air gun has a low noise level, only 75 dBA, which is well below the limits of the OSHA noise exposure standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a). EXAIR strives to manufacture safe and efficient safety air guns, and the VariBlast Precision fits that bill.
To expand on efficiency, the engineered nozzles are designed to entrain the free ambient air to add mass to the airstream. With an amplification ratio of nearly 25:1, you only have to use a small amount of compressed air to generate a powerful, focused blast. So, by using less compressed air, it will save you a lot of money. EXAIR offers three different sizes in different materials. The largest is the Nano Super Air Nozzle, which only requires 8.3 SCFM (235 SLPM) at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar). It is made from type 316SS or PEEK thermoplastic. The PEEK nozzle is great for non-marring applications. The smallest unit is our Atto Super Air Nozzle for very small holes. It also comes in 316SS or PEEK thermoplastic. It only uses 2.5 SCFM (71 SLPM) of compressed air at 80 PSIG (5.5 Bar). For the “in-between” force rating, we offer the Pico Super Air Nozzle in 316SS and PEEK. For the different combinations of model numbers, I created a VariBlast chart below.
A substandard blow-off gun is unsafe, loud, and wastes compressed air. They are subject to dangerous conditions and OSHA fines. EXAIR Safety Air Guns can help improve the situation in all these areas. EXAIR stocks a wide range of safety air guns for almost any blow-off application. We stock units ranging from our smallest size; the VariBlast Precision Safety Air Guns up to our largest size; the TurboBalst Safety Air Guns. From August 1st to September 30th, 2022 for qualified purchases; EXAIR will give a 1” Flat Super Air Nozzle as a promotional item with a purchase of a VariBlast Precision, VariBlast Compact, Soft Grip, Heavy Duty, Super Blast, or TurboBlast Safety Air Gun; a $53.00 complimentary gift. If you have any questions about the VariBlast Precision Safety Air Guns or any of our other safety air guns, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help you.