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Some Considerations to Avoid Pneumatic Tool Dangers

Construction Site Safety: Some Considerations to Avoid Pneumatic Tool Dangers

Pneumatic tools are industrial equipment powered by compressed air. These tools include air powered guns, staplers, chippers, drills, scalers, grinders, air ratchets, nibblers, jackhammers, sprays, sanders, and others. A hose channels the compressed air into the tools.

Pneumatic tools are so risky that construction site safety measures must be observed when using them. Reading the manufacturer’s manual on how to use the tools will also help avoid risks.

The main danger these tools pose is getting hit by the accidentally detached hose and hose fastener. Getting hit by accidentally detached tool attachments and fragments is equally dangerous.

Some things should be considered before using pneumatic tools for construction site safety purposes. Always wear safety protectors such as safety goggles or glasses and face shields. This is to protect your eyes from flying fragments accidentally detached from staplers, riveting guns, chippers, or air powered drills.

Wearing safety boots is also important. Some pneumatic tools are heavy and handlers may accidentally slip or fall.

Noise level is high when using pneumatic tools. It is due to the exhaust air discharged at the tools. Most of the time, these tools are not muffled and are noisier than electric-powered tools. Long exposure to these tools may cause hearing damage. It is appropriate to always wear effective hearing protection or install mufflers on the tools.

In reality, the hose is more dangerous than the pneumatic tools. When the air hose is accidentally severed or is detached from the tool, it may violently whip around, hitting anything nearby, including the workers.

To avoid incidents of violently whipping hose, the air hose must be securely connected into the tool. Positive locking devices and short wires can securely fasten the hose into the tool. Install safety excess flow valves at the air source when using a half-inch diameter air hose. This will help reduce the pressure when the hose fails. Workers must pay attention to the air hoses laid across the walkways to avoid tripping.

Here are other construction site safety tips on using an air hose.

  • Use correct-size hoses that fit in the pneumatic tools.
  • Hoses must be resistant to cutting, abrasion, crushing, continued flexing, etc.
  • Check the hoses regularly and replace them if they have defects such as abrasions, cuts, bulges, etc.
  • Always test the hose before attaching it to the tool by blowing out the airline.
  • Follow hose manufacturer’s rate on the pressure capacity of the hose.
  • Do not carry tools by their hoses. Hold the hoses and the tools with both hands, if possible.

Some pneumatic tools tend to break and send fragments flying. Chipping hammers are a good example, as these are attached to chisels. The chisels are sometimes ejected and may hit someone in the workplace. Install retainers or clips to secure the chisels in the chipping hammers.

For construction site safety, never point the muzzle of tools that shoot fasteners like nails, staples, rivets, etc. at anyone. These tools apply pressure above 100 pounds per square inch. They may not hold such pressure and may accidentally shoot. Always turn them off when not in use. Equip them with a special device to keep the fasteners from being accidentally discharged.

This is also true with sprayers. Spray guns must be equipped with a safety device that locks the trigger. With this lock, the spray gun should only spray fluid when the safety device is released.

Another hazard the pneumatic tools present is fatigue. This is typically true with heavy jackhammers. It is advisable to always wear rubber grips to have a secure hold onto heavy tools. Efficient gripping prevents more fatigue.

For construction site safety, here are other things to consider before using pneumatic tools.

  • Post warning signs to let other workers in the workplace know the possible hazards they should avoid in that particular area.
  • Tools must be regularly cleaned and lubricated.
  • Do not use tools that you think are about to break or fail. Replace them if possible.
  • Never use attachments from other sources. Stick to the attachments approved by the tool manufacturer. This is to ensure compatibility of tools and attachments, thus avoiding possible operation failure.

Aside from the hose and pneumatic tools, consider also the air used to power the tools. Compared to electrical tools, compressed air is less-regulated. It may flow exceedingly and may cause tool breakage. To avoid breakage, always adjust the air pressure to the pressure capacity of the hose and tools.

Here are the things to consider for the air supply of the tools.

  • Air supply must be dry and clean. Air with dust, corrosive fumes, or moisture will eventually cause damage to the tools.
  • Use filter and lubricators to have a steady supply of clean air to the tools.
  • Always wear rubber gloves when using pneumatic tools to protect your hand from any possible effect of compressed air.

Construction site safety relies on the proper use of the tools. Never ignore the instructions provided by tool manufacturers. For more safety measures contact us today.