Compressed air safety rules

The volatility of compressed air means greater safety knowledge through structured compressed air safety rules, needs to be promoted within any facility using compressed air.

Emphasis is on raising awareness of headline dangers of compressed air

All components of compressed air systems should be inspected regularly by qualified and trained employees. However there are clear areas of risk while exploring general safety issues such as inspection, maintenance and training needs.

People using the system – they need to be aware of potential dangers of orificial bodily entry, skin penetration, explosions and optical damage caused by particles.

The major hazard of over pressurisation - and associated risks, such as blockages, failure of automatic controls, malfunctions such as overspeeding, external fires nearby, overheating and deposit accumulation.

General safety requirements for compressed air

The following precautions pertain to the use of compressed air in machine shops:

  • All pipes, hoses, and fittings must have a rating of the maximum pressure of the compressor. Compressed air pipelines should be identified (psi) as to maximum working pressure.
  • Air supply shut-off valves should be located (as near as possible) at the point-of-operation.
  • Air hoses should be kept free of grease and oil to reduce the possibility of deterioration.
  • Hoses should not be strung across floors or aisles where they are liable to cause personnel to trip and fall. When possible, air supply hoses should be suspended overhead, or otherwise located to afford efficient access and protection against damage.
  • Hose ends must be secured to prevent whipping if an accidental cut or break occurs.
  • Pneumatic impact tools, such as riveting guns, should never be pointed at a person.
  • Before a pneumatic tool is disconnected (unless it has quick disconnect plugs), the air supply must be turned off at the control valve and the tool bled.
  • Compressed air must not be used under any circumstances to clean dirt and dust from clothing or off a person’ s skin. Shop air used for cleaning should be regulated to 15 psi unless equipped with diffuser nozzles to provide lessor pressure.
  • Goggles, face shields or other eye protection must be worn by personnel using compressed air for cleaning equipment.
  • Static electricity can be generated through the use of pneumatic tools. This type of equipment must be grounded or bonded if it is used where fuel, flammable vapors or explosive atmospheres are present.


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