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Portable air compressors are a savior on a job site, whether you use them to power nail guns, pressure washers, or other tools. Just like any tool, air compressors require respect for proper use and safety. Take the time to train your crew on proper compressor use so you can avoid unnecessary injury and compressor damage. This article will offer some safety tips you'll want to share with your workers.
Tip #1: Check the Energy Source
Most portable compressors run on diesel fuel. Train your employees to check for fuel spills and leaks before turning on the compressor. If a spill is noticed, the employee must follow emergency spill cleanup protocol. Generally, this will require the use of a regulation spill kit, which will contain an absorbent material that soaks up the fuel. Make sure all employees are trained in the usage of this kit.
Some smaller compressors may be electrically powered. In this case, make sure they are only plugged into grounded plugs of the proper voltage. Park the compressor in a dry area to minimize the chances of electric shock.
Tip #2: Manage the Tools
Before powering on the compressor, make sure the air supply is off. The supply must be off when changing tools, as well. Place any necessary tools onto the hose and hold the tool so it isn't pointing toward any person or easily damaged surface. When selecting tools for your compressor, make sure they have a trigger or safety mechanism. This will help prevent accidents. While in use, tools should be aimed carefully at all times. The pressure per square inch applied by the compressor and tool attachment can cause major injury in a moment of carelessness.
Tip #3: Insist on Proper Protection
At the bare minimum, everyone working with or near compressed air requires eye protection. Depending on the job and tools in use, heavy gloves and a hard hat may also be necessary. This equipment isn't just necessary for those using the compressor. For example, if the compressor is powering a nail gun, everyone in range of the nail gun must be wearing proper safety equipment.
Tip #4: Maintain the Compressor
Regular service will ensure that your compressor is performing safely. Pipes, hoses and fittings require regular inspection and replacement of worn parts. The safety shut-off valves must be in working condition and easily accessible. Check the hoses after each use, and wipe off any dirt or grease. After ending work for the day, make sure the compressor hoses are neatly coiled and not left lying around where they can easily be damaged.
If you need more information about the proper use and care of your compressor, contact a local compressor supplier like Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc.