Tips on Compressed Air Safety
When you are using compressed air, you must follow Health & Safety guidelines. You need to share them with everyone in your workplace to comply with regulations.
There are 6 key hazards you need to consider when you use a compressed air system;
- Unintended release of pressure
- Hot discharge pipes
- Moving parts: exposed drive shaft and belts
- Trip hazards
When it comes to compressed air systems, we say that safety should always be the number 1 priority. You need to think about it when you are choosing your air compressor system and when you maintain it. ABAC air compressors are renowned for good design and they are easy to maintain. We have an excellent network of approved distributors to help with services and you can easily buy service kits. Ask our LiveChat team for help.
Health & Safety Tips from BCAS (British Compressed Air Society Ltd)
We recommend that you follow the advice from the experts at BCAS. Their safety guidelines tell you what to watch out for during the lifecycle of your compressed air system. These guidelines will keep you stay and help you get the best value from your system:
- Designed to be Safe
Air compressors, their components and accessories need to meet a number of design codes and standards. The machines need to be clearly CE marked and vendors will provide full documentation on compliance.
We design safety into our compressor systems. Our designs reduce the risk of you accidentally coming into contact with moving parts, live voltage, high pressure or chemicals that could cause injury and as a consequence down time.
- Safe Access
You must make it is easy to get to your machine even if you only have limited space. You must not make it difficult, unsafe or impossible to access your compressor. People are more likely to cut short routine maintenance if it is hard work. It can cause serious disruption if there’s a problem in the future and no one can work on the equipment. Choose a space for your air compressor that has adequate ventilation and shelter from the elements.
- Experienced Installation Team
An experienced and reliable provider will design, install and commission your air compressor safely and efficiently. You need a team that can also organise all the associated civil work, piping etc. They should also advise you on selecting the most suitable materials, safety and bleed valves. When you a high quality installation, you reduce your risk of future leaks and other undesirable events that could cause an injury to your staff or lead to unscheduled down time.
- Trained Service Staff
Choose air compressor service personnel that can show they receive regular training. You want to see that they have had training on safety procedures and that they follow those procedures. BCAS can prove that personnel who take ownership of safety procedures get injured less frequently. They also work to a higher quality and with greater efficiency. The benefit to you is that you have a more reliable compressed air system.
- Personal Protective Equipment
You need to supply all your employees working with compressed air with the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep you working environment safe.
This means that anyone working on your site, near your air compressor, should wear PPE such as safety boots, gloves and safety glasses. When you make sure you provide your team with the right PPE, it sends a positive message to everyone. Customers will be reassured that you take safety seriously and they will see it as a good indicator that you handle all other aspects of your business with the same due care.
- Be sure to lockout Hazardous Energy Sources
Before you begin any work on your air compressor system it must be isolated from all energy sources, including compressed air, electricity and, in some cases, water. This is a vital step and you must remember it for unplanned work or repairs, as well as routine maintenance. This is the single most important thing you can do to minimise disruption to other operations during system maintenance. You also cut the risk of injuries to your personnel.
- Electrical Safety and Air Compressors
Air compressors are often running on up to 600-700 volts, which means you need to take special care with all aspects of your system. This is why we recommend you call in professionals to design, install and maintain your air compressor. A major risk of compressed air service activities is Arc Flash. Arc Flash is an extremely high temperature electrical flash. You need to make sure that your service personnel follow a rigorous safety procedure and are dressed in the correct protective clothing to minimise the risks of Arc Flash.
- Carry Out Regular Maintenance on your Air Compressor
We recommend regular maintenance intervals for the air compressor systems we supply. Even if your machine is running smoothly, components will suffer from normal wear and tear. This might not be noticeable until something goes wrong. Then everyone will notice! The last thing anyone wants to do is explain to their boss why a member of staff has been injured or work has stopped due to a faulty air compressor. You can avoid this problem by following a regular maintenance schedule with a high quality service provider. If your air compressor is vital to your operations, you might want to invest in a backup unit. We often find that customers choose to have a backup system if compressed air is critical to their production and where any loss of air would cause expensive downtime.
- Choose an Air Compressor that is Sustainable for your Operation
When you choose an air compressor, it is useful to think about the “costs of ownership” as well as the buying price. A machine which has a longer product life, uses less energy and doesn’t need servicing so frequently will cost your business less in the mid to long-term. Many of us are looking for ways to make our business operations as sustainable as possible. When you choose a system with lower running costs, you are also choosing one which creates less waste (from the replacement of fluids, filters and other consumable parts) and has a lower carbon footprint because is requires less energy. All of this helps you build a more sustainable operation.
So is safety of compressed air systems really just about safety?
Safety means better quality of services. It also means less down time for your air compressors and a leaner operation. If you choose an ABAC air compressor you will get a high quality system which is robust, easy to install and easy to maintain. This is the key to air compressor safety.