A Simple Device Can Save A Life: Practising Compressed Air Safety - CAPS

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A Simple Device Can Save A Life: Practising Compressed Air Safety - CAPS

Posted on 2nd August 2018 in

A failure or sudden release of a line or a hose under pressure can be devastating to people nearby.

A worker in QLD was recently killed after receiving severe head injuries while removing a hose from a 100 tonne pressure vessel.

The worker was bleeding the vessel when he was struck on the head by the hose. Sadly, this is just one example of many fatal or near fatal air-hose-related injuries to Australian workers over the last few years. In QLD alone, there have been over 19 serious air-hose related injuries in the workplace since 2014.

Tragic accidents like this are entirely preventable.

Compressed air is one of the most important energy forms used in industry today—its use is widespread and, as with many things that are in plain sight, the risks of compressed air injuring people and damaging plant are often grossly underestimated. Compressed air is not “just air”. It’s a focused stream of air driven at a high velocity and is responsible for death, impact injury and deafness worldwide. Injuries result from hose whip, incorrect connection or disconnection, inability to release trapped pressure, lack of safety clips and shortcuts to the correct operating procedures.

In Australia, since the introduction of the Workplace Health and Safety Act, businesses and their managers have an increased duty of care to take all reasonable steps to protect the people involved in their business – this includes employees, contractors and customers.

Do the following statements ring true for you?

  • Your business does not tolerate avoidable accidents;
  • You care about the wellbeing of your employees;
  • You have experienced the cost of dealing with an injury.

Zero harm is a nice thing to write about, but what are you actually doing to demonstrate you are serious?

When it comes to air-hose safety, there a three key steps you can take to eliminate the most significant dangers associated with working with a pressurised system:

  • Preventative maintenance – Regularly check air hoses for weak spots at bent or kinked areas and at nozzle and shutoff valve attachments. If you notice these problems, replace the hose immediately!
  • Hazard reduction – Minimise hose burst risk by avoiding contact between sharp or heavy objects and compressed air lines. Ensure that plant or machinery is not placed onto or driven over the air hose.
  • Install an air hose safety device – Air hose safety devices such as the HoseGuard can eliminate whiplash and guard against accidental puncture, human error or unforeseen maintenance issues. Simple, inexpensive and effective, the HoseGuard can mean the difference between life and death.

While whip checks and whip socks are a good last line of protection, the HoseGuard acts like a safety fuse in the air system. If HoseGuard detects a sudden rush of air it works to instantly shut off the air supply. Hoses are immediately de-pressurised, allowing personnel time to correctly isolate the air system and carry out repairs. Due to the integral bleed hole allowing some air to flow, the inline pressure automatically resets the HoseGuard once the main break is repaired.

Don’t put your most valuable assets at risk – protect your workforce against preventable air-hose injuries. Maintain your hoses, minimise hazards and install air hose safety devices today so your workers won’t be tomorrow’s statistic.

Hose guards and other safety devices are available through CAPS Australia – please contact your local branch for further information or a quote.

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