Safety Pointers When Working with Compressed Air Systems

Compressed air systems are used for varying industries, from agriculture to pharmaceutical manufacturing, requires workers to operate systems within safety parameters. Any sudden changes in pressure or malfunction equipment may cause an accident that could damage products or applications as well as injure workers. Practicing safety best practices allows workers to take all required precautions to keep systems working at optimal levels. It also ensures that you can properly maintain your best industrial air compressor system at all times.

Companies creating safety guidelines for compressed air systems may focus their protocols based on the types of applications used in their factories. They should focus on both the air compressor systems, equipment connected to the systems, and worker training.  Here are several safety pointers to consider for your company.

Perform Daily Inspections Before Use

It may become a quick habit for workers to clock into their shift and automatically jump into work with equipment that uses compressed air systems. Yet companies may promote greater levels of safety by requiring that workers perform inspections before turning on any machine. These inspections may help spot visual problems. A monitoring system attached to compressed air systems also allows workers to check that status of equipment for areas that cannot undergo visual inspection to warn workers of a potential problem.

Allow Accessibility to Equipment at All Times

If compressed air systems are in equipment that is not movable, then the equipment must allow easy access for maintenance and repairs. Workers may become alerted to a system malfunction. However, if they cannot reach the system, it may take some time to turn off equipment and for components to cycle to a stop. In these instances, further damage to the equipment as well as to the application or manufactured product may continue to occur. Ensure that workers have a feasible pathway to perform maintenance and repairs to compressed air systems.

Examine Maximum Pressure Rating for Compressed Air Parts

If purchasing a complete compressed air system from a manufacturer, all the parts must have a maximum pressure rating that exceeds the pressure rating of the application or safety relief valves contained in the system. Yet always check hoses, pipes, and fittings regarding the pressure ratings. Evaluate both OEM and aftermarket parts when performing maintenance and repairs. If these ratings are below the maximum pressure of the main compressed air system, they will not be able to withstand the compressed air moving through components. The parts would experience failure, which could create a dangerous situation.

Reachable Shut Off Valves

When a catastrophic event occurs that requires manual shutdown through the shut-off valves, workers need to access them immediately without any obstacles on equipment in the way. Ensure the location of the shut-off valves are clear so workers do not spend the majority of their time pushing objects around or even climbing over things. Shut off valves should also be clearly marked for workers to identify them immediately.

Visible and Concise Instructions

Instructions for the use of the compressed air system should be visible to workers. The instructions may be used for reference by both new hires and veteran employees. There may also be a list of safety protocols listed beside the instructions that provide pressure ratings for equipment. It should feature actionable steps that are easy to read and use immediately. When upgrading air compressor systems, change the safety instructions so they apply to the new system. Also, check the state of the instructions in case they are faded, stained or damaged and replace them.

Perform Routine Maintenance

In addition to daily inspections, Workers may perform routine maintenance on a regular schedule. The maintenance checklist may be predefined to what should be inspected and repaired during specific time frames. A company may also invest in remote monitoring systems, sensors and other equipment that warns workers about possible issues during operations. The equipment may also provide early warnings regarding operations not performing optimally to let workers know when maintenance needs to be performed.

Employee Safety Training and Protective Equipment

Provide safety training regarding processes as well as about the use of protective equipment. This training should involve both new hires as well as veteran workers. Schedule additional training sessions throughout the year to refresh workers’ memories and to introduce any recent changes to safety protocols. All workers need access to protective equipment based on the applications that fits appropriately and as the protective equipment should always be in good condition. Old or damaged protective equipment may be taken out of service immediately.

Gaining feedback from workers about safety pointers for compressed air systems may be ideal. They may bring up issues or concerns that are not immediately visible or known. Then you may implement remediation strategies to address the problems. Maintaining a safe environment for all workers is essential to ensure that compressed air systems run optimally to boost operational productivity. For more information about the best industrial air compressors as well as available safety equipment, contact JHFOSTER.