How to Work Safely With Air Compressors

Mar 20, 2023

Table of contents

Safety should be any business's priority. Employees who feel safe are more likely to have higher morale, boosting their productivity and efficiency. A safe workplace also reduces downtime and keeps businesses compliant with various regulations. Understanding the risks of air compressors and using the proper safety precautions to protect your workers and business is critical.

In This Article

Air Compressor Safety Hazards

Air compressors are valuable and essential tools in numerous industries, but they can also be dangerous if you don't know how to use or maintain them correctly. Malfunctions or improper use can create risks for workers and other equipment. Some common air compressor safety hazards include:

  • Electrical shock: Workplace outlets that aren't grounded correctly can cause electrical shocks that damage your equipment and harm your employees. Electrical shocks can also occur if you don't follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding extension cords.
  • Toxic fumes: Diesel- or gas-powered air compressors produce toxic fumes, which can be dangerous for workers, especially if inhaling them long-term. You should use air compressors outside whenever possible to reduce the risk of toxic fume exposure.
  • Flying debris: High-pressured air can cause flying particles and debris, potentially striking an operator or workers. These flying particles can cause bodily injury and even get lodged in your equipment, damaging your machinery.
  • High-pressure air: If high-pressure air enters the body from the compressor, it can cause serious injuries and conditions, such as ruptured organs, air embolism and ruptured ear drums. Even air compressors with 100 psi are strong enough to break human skin, which can cause injuries ranging from minor to major. Operators need proper training to ensure high-pressure air doesn't enter the body and prevent these harmful conditions.
  • Hearing loss: Some air compressors can have high decibel ratings, creating hearing loss if workers are exposed to the noise for too long. You can take measures to quiet air compressors, such as placing them further away from the work site.

Without the proper maintenance or safety precautions, air compressors can pose a significant risk to equipment and workers, creating liabilities for your company. Air compressor operators can mitigate these safety hazards with proper training and precautions, which you'll learn more about below.


8 Essential Air Compressor Safety Tips

Following air compressor safety guidelines is essential for improving your employees' working conditions and protecting your other equipment. The air compressor safety checklist below will help you keep your work environment safe and reduce the risk to your employees and equipment:

1. Use Air Compressors Outside

Gas- and diesel-powered air compressors release toxic fumes when running, creating a safety hazard for workers. You should always use an air compressor outside unless they're electrically powered. You can find extendable hoses to give you better reach so you can ensure your air compressor stays outdoors.

However, wet outside conditions are a notable exception to the rule. You'll want to keep your air compressor covered when you use it in rainy conditions. Store it properly when it isn't in use to prevent rust and electrical problems.

2. Wear Safety Gear While Operating Air Compressors

Since high-pressure air can harm workers, operators should always wear safety gear when using air compressors. Eye and ear protection are crucial. You can take it further by requiring workers to wear gloves when using air compressors. These devices can also grab onto loose clothing quickly, so you should encourage workers to avoid wearing loose clothes and remind them to keep their fingers, hands and hair away.

3. Power Down Completely Before Maintenance or Repairs

Before performing maintenance or troubleshooting for repairs, you should ensure you power down the air compressor entirely. Ensure you shut down the air compressor and disconnect it from its power supply. You'll also want to take care to relieve the air pressure before you start work. Once the air compressor is powered down completely, you can start performing your regular maintenance or working on repairs.

4. Check Electrical Outlets

If your electrical outlets aren't properly grounded, they can increase your risk of electrical shock. Improperly grounded outlets can also increase the risk of electrical fires, which are dangerous for workers and your business. Check your electrical outlets to ensure they're grounded. If you have an ungrounded outlet, call a technician to fix it and wait to use it until they've grounded it properly.

5. Follow Maintenance Recommendations

Manufacturer manuals and guides often include recommendations that can help you determine the best maintenance schedule. Following a maintenance schedule helps reduce the risk of damage to your air compressor and prevent harm to your workers or equipment. Malfunctioning equipment is more likely to pose safety risks for operators, so keeping up with your maintenance schedule is essential.

6. Train Operators to Use Air Compressors

It's vital to train your operators to use air compressors. They should know how to start and power down the machinery correctly, operate the device and use it without putting themselves or others at risk. Training should include what to do in an emergency and what protective equipment they should wear to prevent bodily injuries.

Employee training is also crucial to learn the dangers of air compressors and the need to take the equipment seriously. For example, your training might cover the importance of never pointing compressed air tools and hoses at themselves or another person.

7. Drain Compressor Tanks Often

You should have a regular schedule for draining your air compressor tanks. Compressor tanks can rust or explode without frequent draining, putting everyone in the vicinity at risk for bodily harm. Failing to drain the compressor tanks can also increase the risk of damage to your other equipment.

8. Secure Hoses and Tools Before Starting the Compressor

Ensure your operators have secured the hoses and tools before they start the air compressor. Loose tools and hoses can whip around or fly off uncontrollably, creating a hazard for employees and risking bodily harm.

Trust Fluid-Aire Dynamics as Your Source for Air Compressors

If you need an air compressor for your business, Fluid-Aire Dynamics is here to help. We offer various air compressors and brands to suit your applications. We can install your air compressor on-site and provide preventative maintenance services to ensure your air compressor is operating at peak functionality. We also offer emergency repair services if something goes wrong, helping reduce downtime and improving workplace safety.

Our knowledgeable technicians can help keep your air compressor in the best condition possible to keep your workplace safe and effective. Contact us today or browse our blog to learn more about air compressors and our products or services.

Get in Touch Today

Get in Touch Today

We are here to serve your compressed air system needs 24/7/365. Call or click today!

Contact us