July 14, 2015
Q What are Oregon OSHA's requirements for using compressed air to clean out concrete forms? It appears that federal OSHA allows cleaning forms with more than 30 psi as long as there is a relief valve and chip protection. I'm not sure I understand what chip protection is either.
A The Oregon OSHA construction rule that you are referring to is 1926.302(b)(4) [Division 3, Subdivision I, Power operated hand tools]. This rule, which is the same as federal OSHA's, states:
"Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 psi and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment… The 30 psi requirement does not apply for concrete form, mill scale and similar cleaning purposes."
Effective chip guarding means any method or equipment that will prevent a chip or particle (of whatever size) from being blown into the eyes or skin of the operator or other workers. Effective chip guarding may be separate from the air nozzle or engineered into the design of the air nozzle. This can be done by setting up screens, walls, or barriers. You can also purchase nozzles with chip guarding "shielding" that will prevent chips from being directed towards others or being blown back toward the user such as in tight corners, or a combination of both.
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