OSHA Safety Standards for Compressed Air

Safety should always be a serious concern within industrial environments.  Walk through any production facility and you should see all kinds of steps taken to give a safe workplace to the operators, contractors, and other team members.  Whether this is through a sign showing PPE required to enter an area, an emergency exit sign, a safe walkway, or machine guards.  Safety has become a standard that should never be lowered and there is good reason for that.

EXAIR designs all of our products to be safe and they meet or exceed OSHA standards that are directed toward compressed air safety.  The first is to ensure that an operator or maintenance worker will not be injured through air impinging their skin should they come into contact with an EXAIR product.   This OSHA standard is 29 CFR1910.242(b) claiming that all point of use compressed air products must be regulated to have less than 30 psig of dead end pressure.   This directive is critical for worker safety and the way many blowoffs skirt by is to cross drill holes in the end of the blowoff.

Cross drilled holes may satisfy the dead end pressure standard but it does not address OSHA’s next important compressed air standard about noise exposure, OSHA standard 29CFR1910.95(a).  The allowable noise level standard combined with 30 psig dead end pressure will render many home made or retail nozzles near useless because few, if any, meet both standards.  Again, EXAIR has engineered and designed our Super Air Nozzles to permit 80 psig inlet pressure and still meet or exceed both of these OSHA standards so that the work can still be done by the operators while remaining safe and retaining their hearing.

For a better explanation and demonstration of how our nozzles meet these standards please see the video below.

While I use nozzles and cross drilled pipes as examples within this blog these safety features are designed into every product that EXAIR offers.  This is due to the fact that OSHA, NIOSH, and the CDC do not delineate between a blow gun, blow off within a machine, or even a Cabinet Cooler System.  If the device is powered by compressed air then the two key OSHA standard are in effect due to the inherit dangers of compressed air.

I encourage you now to walk through your facility and try to listen or spot compressed air points of use within your facility.  Then, I ask you to call, chat, e-mail, or tweet an Application Engineer here at EXAIR and let us help you determine the most efficient and safest product to get the work done.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

EXAIR Nozzle Improves Safety & Worker Comfort

This week’s adventures in using compressed air arrives from an unexpected source: installing handlebar grips on a bicycle. The customer used a compressed air gun with an open tube which is not OSHA safe and is LOUD! (pictured below)

This original nozzle does not comply with OSHA’s dead end pressure standard and is exceptionally loud.

The bicycle shop would slip the nozzle of the air gun under the rubber handlebar grips to expand them to slide onto the frames easily.  The original nozzle of the gun did not have a relief port in the nozzle to prevent pressurization over 30 PSIG as mandated by OSHA instruction STD 01-13-0001. On top of the over-pressurization problem, the gun was incredibly noisy. This noise was the reason for their call. During the course of our phone conversation, we also discussed the safety aspect of their application. If you need more information on OSHA’s regulation regarding compressed air please see my blog “Complying with OSHA’s Compressed Air Standard”.

Customer slipping on a bicycle handlebar using a 1410SS Precision Safety Air Gun

The bicycle repair shop was relatively quiet, so the noise from the 0.175″ opening of the original safety air gun affected a number of shop employees. Every year more and more studies point to a link between occupational noise and health, well being, and productivity. This repair shop had a relatively low noise level in most working hours, so the noise of the air gun continuously rattling through rafters not only threatened the operators’ hearing but also may have affected them in other ways.  The technician manager of the repair shop had heard complaints from operators and called one of EXAIR’s Application Engineers to find a quieter solution. Our solution was the Precision Safety Air Gun, model 1410SS, was the perfect solution. The 1/4″ Nano Super Air Nozzle is 1/4″ in diameter which was able to easily slip underneath the handlebar grips. The gun would then be triggered which allow air to fill the handlebar grip, which caused it to expand just enough to slip onto the bike frame.

Originally, the air gun produced noise levels of over 90 dB every time the gun was triggered. EXAIR’s 1410SS Precision Safety Air Gun only produced a noise level of 75 dB, which is much more manageable in their shop environment. The gun also features EXAIR Super Air Nozzle design which conserves compressed air and complies with OSHA standard 1910.242(b), which prevents the outlet pressure from exceeding 30 PSIG.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer