Air Tool Safety
Air tools are powered by compressed air and include chippers, drills, hammers, sanders, spray guns, air ratchets, grinders, nibblers, needle scalers, and many more.
There are several dangers associated with the use of Air tools. First and foremost is the danger of getting hit by one of the tool’s attachments or by some kind of fastener that you are using with the tool.
All air tools on the work site must be maintained in good condition, whether the tools are provided by the employer or by the employee. If the tool comes with a chip guard or other safety mechanism, it must be installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications and installed whenever the tool is used. Additionally, employees should never lift or hold a tool by its hose.
Air tools must be checked to see that they are fastened securely to the air hose to prevent them from becoming disconnected. A short wire or positive locking device attaching the air hose to the tool may also be used and will serve as an added safeguard.
Handling Air Tools Safely:
Permit only experienced and trained people to operate pneumatic tools.
Inspect each tool before connecting it to the air supply:
o Check tool safety mechanisms if applicable.
o Tighten all screws and cylinder caps securely.
Check for correct air supply and pressure before connecting a tool.
Check that the tool is correctly and securely connected to the air supply hose, in good working order, and has a fully operating safety mechanism before using.
Always handle a tool as if it is loaded with fasteners (nails, staples, etc.).
Equip tools with a work-contacting element that limits the contact area to one that is as small as practical.
Make sure that the mechanical linkage between work-contacting element and trigger is enclosed.
Review the manufacturer’s instruction before using a tool.
Wear safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles) and, where necessary, safety shoes or boots and hearing protection.
Post warning signs where pneumatic tools are used. Set up screens or shields in areas where nearby workers may be exposed to flying fragments, chips, dust, and excessive noise.
- Ensure that the compressed air supplied to the tool is clean and dry.
o Dust, moisture, and corrosive fumes can damage a tool.
o An in-line regulator filter and lubricator increases tool life.
- Keep tools clean and lubricated, and maintain them according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
Use only the attachments that the manufacturer recommends for the tools you are using.
Be careful to prevent hands, feet, or body from injury in case the machine slips or the tool breaks.
- Reduce physical fatigue by supporting heavy tools with a counter-balance wherever possible.
Electrical tools are powered from a source that provides a well-regulated standard current. However, with air-powered tools, air may be delivered at varying pressures and flows. If the pressure/flow exceeds the manufacturer’s rating, the tool itself could over-speed, delivering too much torque or other excessive force. This is hazardous due to the increased possibility of tool or workpiece breakage. Inadequate pressure or flow could also result in an underperforming tool. This may prompt you to apply excessive force in your work, possibly causing tool breakage and injury. Adjust your air pressure to the manufacturer’s rating. Make sure hoses are of the correct inside diameter and are not kinked or crushed. Your compressor and receiver must have enough capacity to deliver air in an amount sufficient to properly operate all attached tools.
Whipping Hose Danger:
If an electric cord were to break, there is generally not much danger unless you come in contact with the conductors. However, a severed air hose can whip around violently until the air is shut off. You may be injured by the whipping hose or while scrambling to get out of its way. Protect the hose from physical damage. When using quick disconnect-type fittings, install the male end on the tool.
Safety risks aren’t yours to take…You’re not the only one who will suffer from your mistake!!
Download flyer: SMOTW_341_AirToolSafety.pdf (122.25 kb)
Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_341_AirToolSafety_esp.pdf (123.24 kb)