2 Crucial Air Compressor Safety Tips You Should Teach Your Employees

If you run a busy construction company, you might be more worried about workplace hazards like employees working without a harness or handling heavy materials than you are about air compressor safety. Unfortunately, if your guys aren't careful about the rules, you might end up dealing with a tragedy. Here are two crucial air compressor safety tips you should teach your employees so that everyone stays safe:

1: Air Tanks Need to Be Drained After Each Use Air compressors harness pressure to power a huge range of pneumatic tools ranging from drills to paint sprayers. However, as air is sucked into your compressor tank, moisture can collect, pool, and cause internal rust damage. Over time, rust can corrode away the protective liner inside of tanks, creating tiny holes that can cause devastating explosions.

For example, one auto body shop was leveled in New York a few years ago when an air compressor exploded and took out a load-bearing wall. Fortunately, the workers, a father and son team, miraculously survived the explosion. However, this example demonstrates the importance of doing everything you can to fend off internal air compressor damage.

To keep rust at bay, experts recommend draining air compressor tanks completely after each use. Drain valves are usually located on the underside, lowest portion of the tank, so that water and grime will drain out along with the stored air. Train your employees to drain the tanks at the end of each workday, and then to refill them before they begin projects the next morning. It might seem like a lot of trouble, but it could protect your jobsite and all of your employees.

2: Be Careful When You Troubleshoot Tools

When you are in the middle of finishing up a job, it can be frustrating to deal with a non-functional nail gun or impact wrench. Unfortunately, if your employees handle tools the wrong way when troubleshooting jams, they could be seriously injured. For example, a New Jersey man was seriously injured in 2012 when he accidentally shot himself in the chest with a nail gun. He was trying to clear a jam when the gun went off, sending a 3-½ inch roofing nail through his chest and putting him in cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the man survived after undergoing surgery to repair the damage.

To prevent injuries, teach your employees to be careful when they handle jams. Here are a few rules you should always enforce:

  • Don't Point Tools At Anyone: You never know when that nail gun will go off or when spray will escape that painting device, which is why you should never point tools at anyone. Teach your workers to keep their tools to themselves, and never to play with work equipment. If you spot rogue employees, discipline them right away. It might seem severe, but it could keep your workers safe. 
  • Remove the Air Hose to Relieve Pressure: Teach your workers to remove air hoses from tools before they start fidgeting with their equipment. By eliminating the airflow, nails and other projectiles might stay put instead of flying towards an employee.
  • Secure Hoses When Working On Scaffolding or Roofs: Don't let your crew leave bum equipment lying around where it could fall. Teach your employees to secure hoses when working on scaffolding or roofs, even if the tool isn't in use. That way, the tool won't fall, fire, and hurt someone.

Before you start each job, hold a mini-meeting with your employees to review the safety rules. In addition to potentially avoiding accidents, you might be able to cover your bases if you need to write up a disobedient employee later. By taking the time to train your employees and review air compressor safety, you might be able to avoid expensive delays, hospital stays, and worker's compensation lawsuits. 

For more tips on using your compressors safely, contact a local supplier or service company like Kruman Equipment Co.