Safety Checklist for Using Air-Powered Tools

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The use of portable tools involves many hazards, but air-operated tools present even more danger. Each type of air-power tool requires knowledge of specific operating instructions. Let’s look at the general hazards that can occur when using air as power.

The air must be compressed, which involves hazards uncommon to any other power source. If properly designed and installed, the air compressor and air receiving tank should operate efficiently. However, proper maintenance is required to ensure continued safe operation.

Safety check list

Before starting an air-power tool:

  • nailgunCheck the tool for loose parts. Tighten if necessary;
  • Check the air strainer in the tool. Clean if necessary;
  • Lubricate the tool with a high-grade light machine oil. Place a few drops into the hose connection, unless an air line lubricator is being used. A few drops every hour are required if the tool is operated continuously.
  • Check all fittings for proper connection;
  • Be sure the control valve is in the closed position. An open valve can result in a whipping tool;
  • Check air pressure at the tool retainer device. Without it, the tool may be ejected with force, possibly causing injury or damage to property;
  • Check equipment for the tool-retainer device. Without it, the tool may be ejected with force, possibly causing injury or damage to property;
  • Check the provided guard equipment. Be sure it is properly installed;
  • When changing tools, close the stop valve in the air-supply line. Never kink the hose to save steps or time.

Safe air-tool operators are efficient workers. These operators:

  • Know their tools;
  • Can recognize defects at a glance;
  • Report all defective equipment;
  • Do not improvise make-shift tools;
  • Use the guards supplied by manufacturers;
  • Know the danger of loose spindles in the bearings;
  • Can spot signs of failure in drill steel;
  • Check polishing and other wheels for balance before using them;
  • Avoid using flammable or toxic solvents to clean tools; • Seek and find the safe way to care for and work with air-power tools.
The above is an excerpt from the article, “What are air-powered tools?” For more information, please visit www.bwc.ohio.gov/.

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