The Ultimate Manual for Air Compressor Safety

The Ultimate Manual for Air Compressor Safety

(Sep 11 2021 - Views: 504)

From household cleaning to transportation, air compressors are useful for all sorts of things. However, like most machinery, air compressors present certain safety hazards if not used properly.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using it at home or for industrial purposes. However, if you’re using air compressors for pneumatic tools, your safety is particularly important. 

Powering pneumatic tools and related equipment such as conveyor belts requires large scale air compressors, which present higher safety risks.

As such, you need to educate yourself to ensure no one gets hurt. Here’s everything you need to know about air compressor safety.

What Are Common Compressor Safety Hazards?

First things first, what sort of safety hazards do you need to watch out for? Mostly, air compressors are very safe to use.

However, if safety protocol is not followed, air compressors can cause damage in four main ways:

High Pressure

Of course, air compressors must produce high amounts of pressure depending on their application. However, if the human body is exposed to such high pressure, organs can get ruptured.


For instance, if the pressure accidentally enters the body, it can cause an air embolism. Air embolisms are when air bubbles enter your bloodstream, blocking a vein or artery. If it reaches the brain, it can cause a stroke.

Electrical Issues

Another key safety hazard is electrical dangers. If the air compressor isn’t plugged in properly or doesn’t have enough voltage, it can cause electrical shocks and even fires.

It can also cause the wiring to overheat and melt, damaging the machine.

Toxic Fumes

Some air compressors use gas and diesel to enhance performance and produce higher pressures. However, these fuels can produce toxic fumes, which can cause suffocation if the storage space isn’t ventilated properly.

Some compressors may emit flying debris as well as fumes. Therefore, there needs to be adequate spacing. If you have such an air compressor, place it outside.

Noise Pollution

Lastly, air compressors may cause noise pollution, which can result in hearing loss. Your eardrums may rupture after prolonged exposure to the noise.

However, this only happens in extreme cases when operators don’t wear safety equipment.

How to Prioritize Air Compressor Safety?

Now, let’s explore air compressor safety. How do you avoid the above-mentioned hazards? What are the main safety tips to consider when using air compressors?

 You need to take things to step by step:

Set Up The Air Compressor Properly

Firstly, you need to ensure your air compressor is set up properly. During this process, it’s essential to go through the user training manual. Educate yourself about your machine and its specific needs.

However, on the whole, here’s what you need to consider during the setup process:

  1. If your air compressor valves aren’t secured, they can fall and hit someone. As such, when setting up the compressor, make sure everything is fitted properly. For example, drain valves must be placed at least two feet above the ground.
  2. If the air compressors are powering industrial equipment, ensure all wires and cables are plugged into proper outlets. Don’t plug your cables into a single outlet. It can cause overheating and other electrical dangers.
  3. Similarly, keep your cables away from moisture. If your compressor is set up outdoors, ensure the wiring is properly protected against weather-based hazards.
  4. At the same time, check whether the setup space has enough air and noise ventilation. Compressors don’t work well in high-temperature and humid conditions.
  5. Lastly, keep the valve shut off in an easy-to-reach space. If there’s an emergency, you should be able to shut down the machine immediately.

Check Your Surroundings Before Operation

Secondly, it’s essential to monitor your surroundings before you use an air compressor. Here’s what you need to look for:

  1. Check whether there’s any moisture around the compressor. If there’s water spilled near the machine, it can cause short-circuiting.
  2. Similarly, see whether there’s any breakage or decaying in the surroundings. There shouldn’t be any structural issue or else the machine may fall or break down.
  3. Another key inspection point is with the machine itself. You must assess the machine for any obvious issues such as cracks and corrosions. If any component is damaged, you can’t use the machine.
  4. Lastly, you must also evaluate whether the machine is connected to the air and electrical source. The outlets should be plugged in and the valves must be properly secured.

Conduct Pre-Operation Safety Checks

Apart from checking your surroundings, there are multiple safety checks you must perform before operation. This step is especially true in industrial conditions where the compressor is hooked to multiple devices.

  1. Firstly, you must look at the machine’s oil levels. The compressor can’t run without proper lubrication, so this step is essential.
  2. For pneumatic tools, evaluate whether additional lubrication is needed. Some tools require more lubricants to enhance efficiency. However, make sure all lubricants are non-flammable.
  3. Of course, with air compressors, you must also see whether the air filters are clogged. At times, dirt and debris gets stuck, harming the operational efficiency of the machine. If the filters are dirty, clean or replace them.
  4. As mentioned, some compressors use gas or diesel. If that’s the case with you, you need to check the fuel levels. If you need to refill the tank, ensure the machine is completely cool before doing so.
  5. If you have devices connected to the compressor, make sure they’re all turned off. If yes, you can use the machine without fear.

Maintain the Air Compressor Regularly

Lastly, you also need to keep your air compressor well-maintained. Otherwise, the above-mentioned safety tips are futile.

Here are essential air compressor maintenance tips:

  1. Schedule maintenance on a monthly and yearly basis. This will ensure the machine is regularly cleaned and updated.
  2. Secondly, before beginning your regular maintenance, make sure the machine is turned off.
  3. Conduct all safety checks again, focusing on cleaning and replacing damaged parts. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions during this process.

In sum, it’s not difficult to use air compressors safely. Through consistent checking and maintenance, you can use compressors without fear. However, you should always get proper training before using a compressor.

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