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We aren’t just blowing hot air when we say that air tools have the potential to cause significant injury. Thankfully, most potentially hazardous risks can be mitigated with a few simple safety measures.
Pneumatic tools dispense air at varying pressures and flows and, if the pressure/flow exceeds the manufacturer’s rating, the tool itself could over-speed, delivering too much torque or other excessive force. This could cause your tool or work piece to break, potentially injuring you in the process. This hazard can be avoided with the following precautions:
Under certain conditions, the temperature of compressed air can be low enough to cause frostbite, stiffen your fingers, or even result in cumulative trauma injuries. Wear gloves if there is no risk of them getting caught up in any rotating or reciprocating parts.
Pneumatic tools can be much noisier than electric tools due to un-muffled exhaust air. To protect your hearing from prolonged exposure you should either install an effective muffler on the exhaust or wear appropriate hearing protection.
Oil & Air Quality
Some tools produce oil contaminated air. If oil-contaminated air discharges near where you grip the tool, your hands may become oily, resulting in a dangerous loss of grip. Frequently wipe both your hands and the tool and be sure you are not over oiling the tool. To eliminate the hazard, find a replacement tool with a better design.
Air powered tools are not grounded or double insulated, so if you make contact with a live wire while working with a pneumatic tool, you can be shocked. To avoid danger, ensure all electric power in the immediate work area is isolated.
Whipping Hose Danger
Severed air hoses can whip around violently until the air is shut off and this may result in injury. For this reason, it is crucial to protect the hose from physical damage. When using quick disconnect type fittings, install the male end on the tool.
Finally, don’t forget to protect your eyes. Compressed air or particles may fly from equipment such as chipping hammers, rock drills, rotary drills or sanders, and cause pain or injury. Wear safety glasses at all times.
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