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Dangers of compressed air

Compressed air always has the potential to be extremely dangerous, so try and avoid its use when cleaning down and de‐dusting overalls and clothing.

The dangers of de‐dusting yourself with compressed air are:

  • it can force an eye from its socket
  • if blown into the mouth, compressed air can rupture the lungs, stomach and intestines
  • it can penetrate human skin and if it enters the blood stream it can be fatal by causing a heart attack
  • it may puncture an ear drum and cause deafness
  • if you have been painting or covered with dirt or soot, you can have poisonous particles blasted into your body where they immediately combine with the blood.

The dangers of cleaning machinery and equipment with compressed air are

  • that metal chips or dust can injure the eye
  • some of the fluids removed by compressed air can evaporate into mist which can cause a health hazard
  • compressed air is very loud and can cause hearing problems
  • it causes high wear on machinery

The following guidelines can help reduce the risk of injury when using compressed air:

  • Hoses should be checked to ensure they are properly connected to pipe outlets before use
  • Air lines should be inspected frequently for defects, and any defective equipment repaired or replaced immediately
  • NEVER play practical jokes with compressed air ‐ it can be fatal
  • NEVER use compressed air to clean clothing, hair or the body
  • NEVER point the hose at anyone and always see that nearby workers are out of the line of air flow. When not actually using the air, point the hose downwards and to the side of the feet
  • When crossing passageways, either suspend the air hose or ensure it is adequately guarded. Air hoses should not be placed where they will create tripping hazards
  • Wear suitable protective equipment ‐ always wear eye protection when using compressed air. Remember normal work clothing is no protection against compressed air
  • Air hoses should be securely held to prevent whipping
  • Never kink the hose to stop the air flow ‐ turn it off at the control valve
  • Before using compressed air, make sure that dirt will not be blown onto other workers in the area. Only the user should be in the vicinity
  • Turn off the valve on both the tools and the air line when the job is finished
  • All components of compressed air systems should be inspected

Remember ‐ All injuries are preventable: you have the ability and the responsibility to make suggestions for improvements

A safe alternative to using compressed air for cleaning down workers

Dynamic Engineering Australia is the Australasian distributor for JetBlack Safety personnel cleaning stations and booths- blower-driven air that offers a safe alternative to using compressed air for cleaning workers in dusty environments.