Industry advised to do more to protect air tools users

Improperly installed, and inferior quality air hoses pose a danger to air tool users, according to a leading international calibration specialist.

The advice, from Trescal, has been issued to heighten awareness among manufacturing organisations regarding the potential risks associated with the use of air tools on production, assembly and repair operations. And the associated risk for operators to urge organisations to do more to protect personnel.

The concerns surround the fact that many industrial air tools are being fitted with unsuitable, lower quality or the wrong diameter air hoses or that inadequate checks and validates are in place. This can lead to a risk of injury to operators or damage to components by the air hose working loose.

“Air tools should be fitted with compliant air hoses that comply with UK legislation and industry specifications” says John Buckley, Programmes Manager at Trescal UK.

“However, the fitting of air hoses to the tool is often an operation that end-users perform themselves during installation, but there is often insufficient consideration given to whether the correct hose is being used or the quality of the attachment, which can result in the line coming off during operation or vibration injury due to over or under flow of air pressure.”

Mr Buckley further stated: “An inappropriate air line is a considerable health and safety hazard in industrial applications. Most air tools have circa 90 pounds per square inch (pressure) going through them and if the line is inadequate this heightens the risk of the air hose becoming detached from supply and increases the likelihood of accidents that can injure operators or damage components. Using the correct diameter hose will not only protect operators and components but, in addition, ensure the correct air flow is being used for the right application of the tool.”

Mr Buckley recommends that organisations operating air lines or air tools instigate a process of regular maintenance, inspection and verification of these components.

“In the event of an industrial accident, employers need to be able to prove that all necessary precautions and checks were taken to ensure the safety of their employees. A regime of regular testing, inspection, maintenance and certification will reduce the potential for operator injury and damage to components.”

He continued: “One of the ways to mitigate risk is to employ an independent company to validate the components. Trescal are able to offer this service to industry at legislative standards working within the air tool manufacturer’s specifications.”