General Safety ideas for compressed air and compressed air
The following precautions pertain to the use of compressed air in
1. 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.
2. Air supply shutoff valves should be located (as near as possible)
at the point-of-operation.
3. Air hoses should be kept free of grease and oil to reduce the
possibility of deterioration.
4. 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.
5. Hose ends must be secured to prevent whipping if an accidental
cut or break occurs.
6. Pneumatic impact tools, such as riveting guns, should never be
pointed at a person.
7. 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.
8. 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
diffuser nozzles to provide lessor pressure.
9. Goggles, face shields or other eye protection must be worn by
personnel using compressed air for cleaning equipment.
10. 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.
Safety Requirements for Operating & Maintaining Compressed
All components of compressed air systems should be inspected regularly
by qualified and trained employees. Maintenance superintendents should
check with state and/or insurance companies to determine if they require
their own inspection of this equipment. Operators need to be aware
of the following:
The maximum allowable working pressures of air receivers should
never be exceeded except when being tested. Only hydrostatically
and approved tanks shall be used as air receivers.
1. Air tanks and receivers should be equipped with inspection openings,
and tanks over 36 inches in diameter should have a manhole. pipelug
openings should be provided on tanks with volumes of less than five
2. The intake and exhaust pipes of small tanks, similar to those
used in garages, should be made removable for interior inspections.
3. No tank or receiver should be altered or modified by unauthorized
4. Air receivers should be fitted with a drain cock that is located
at the bottom Of the receiver.
5. Receivers should be drained frequently to prevent accumulation
of liquid inside the unit. Receivers having automatic drain systems
are exempt from this Requirement.
6. Air tanks should be located so that the entire outside surfaces
can be easily inspected. Air tanks should not be buried or placed
where they cannot be seen for frequent inspection.
7. Each air receiver shall be equipped with at least one pressure
gauge and an ASME safety valve of the proper design.
8. A safety (spring loaded) release valve shall be installed to
prevent the receiver from exceeding the maximum allowable working
9. Only qualified personnel should be permitted to repair air tanks,
and all work must be done according to established safety standards.
1. Air lines should be made of high quality materials, fitted with
2. Only standard fittings should be used on air lines.
3. Operators should avoid bending or kinking air hoses.
4. Air hoses should not be placed where they will create tripping
5. Hoses should be checked to make sure they are properly connected
to pipe outlets before use.
6. Air lines should be inspected frequently for defects, and any
defective equipment repaired or replaced immediately.
7. Compressed air lines should be identified as to maximum working
pressures (psi), by tagging or marking pipeline outlets.
Pressure Regulation Devices:
1. Only qualified personnel should be allowed to repair or adjust
pressure regulating equipment.
2. Valves, gauges and other regulating devices should be installed
on compressor equipment in such a way that cannot be made inoperative.
3. Air tank safety valves should be set no less than 15 psi or 10
percent (whichever is greater) above the operating pressure of the
compressor but never higher than the maximum allowable working pressure
of the air receiver.
4. Air lines between the compressor and receiver should usually
not be equipped with stop valves. Where stop valves are necessary
and authorized, ASME safety valves should be installed between the
stop valves and the compressor.
5. The Safety valves should be set to blow at pressures slightly
above those necessary to pop the receiver safety valves.
6. Blowoff valves should be located on the equipment and shielded
so sudden blowoffs will not cause personnel injuries or equipment
7. Case iron seat or disk safety valves should be ASME approved
and stamped for intended service application.
8. If the design of a safety or a relief valve is such that liquid
can collect on the discharge side of the disk, the valve should be
equipped with a drain at the lowest point where liquid can collect.
9. Safety valves exposed to freezing temperatures should be located
so water cannot collect in the valves. Frozen valves must be thawed
and drained before operating the compressor.
Air Compressor Operation:
1. Air compressor equipment should be operated only by authorized
and trained personnel.
2. The air intake should be from a clean, outside, fresh air source.
Screens or filters can be used to clean the air.
3. Air compressors should Never be operated at speeds faster than
the manufacturers recommendation.
4. Equipment should not become overheated.
5. Moving parts, such as compressor flywheels, pulleys, and belts
that could be hazardous should be effectively guarded.
Compressed Air Equipment Management:
1. Only authorized and trained personnel should service and maintain
air compressor equipment.
2. Exposed, non current-carrying, metal parts of compressor should
be effectively grounded.
3. High flash point lubricants should not be used on compressors
because of its high operating temperatures that could cause a fine
4. Equipment should not be over lubricated.
5. Gasoline or diesel fuel powered compressors shall not be used
6. Equipment placed outside but near buildings should have the exhausts
directed away from doors, windows and fresh air intakes.
7. Soapy water of lye solutions can be used to clean compressor
parts of carbon deposits, but kerosene or other flammable substances
should not be used.
8. Frequent cleaning is necessary to keep compressors in good working
9. The air systems should be completely purged after each cleaning.
During maintenance work, the switches of electrically operated compressors
should be locked open and tagged to prevent accidental starting.
10. Portable electric compressors should be disconnected from the
power supply before performing maintenance.
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