Small Business Self-Evaluation Checklist: Compressed Air

Many hazards are associated with pressurized air. For example, if an un-pressurized system or component is suddenly and rapidly pressurized with high-pressure air, a large amount of heat is produced that may reach the ignition temperature of the impurities present in the air. When the ignition temperature is reached, a violent explosion may occur. Ignition temperatures may also result from rapid pressurization of a low-pressure, dead-end portion of the piping system or leaky or dirty valves. Air compressor accidents have also been caused by improper maintenance procedures and improper operating procedures. These accidents can happen when parts are disconnected under pressure, parts are replaced with units designed for lower pressures, and stop valves or check valves are installed in improper locations.

This “Client Handout” provides small business owners a means of identifying potential problem areas that may occur with handling or using compressed air. Any question answered “No” should be thoroughly investigated and corrective actions taken.

Questions Yes  No  N/A 
Are policies and procedures written that cover use of compressed air?      
Are workers trained in the safe handling of compressed air?       
Are safety glasses (preferably with a face shield) used when handling compressed air?      
Are compressors equipped with pressure relief valves and pressure gauges?       
Are compressor air intakes installed and equipped so as to ensure that only clean, uncontaminated air enters the compressor?      
Are air filters installed on the compressor intake?       
Are compressors operated and serviced according to the manufactures recommendations?       
Are safety devices on compressed air systems checked frequently?       
Is the pressure bled off and the system locked-out before any maintenance is performed?      
Are signs posted to warn of the automatic starting feature of the compressors?       
For compressors with a belt drive, is the belt drive system totally enclosed?      
Is it strictly prohibited to direct compressed air towards a person?      
Are employees prohibited from using highly compressed air for cleaning purposes?       
If compressed air is used for cleaning, is the pressure reduced to less than 30 psi?       
When using compressed air for cleaning, do employees wear protective equipment?      
Are safety chains or other locking devices used at couplings of high pressure hose lines?      
When compressed air is used with abrasive blast cleaning equipment, is the operating valve a type that must be held open manually?      


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