Compressed air is a gas under more pressure than the air in the general environment. Compressed air is dangerous because – without proper personal protective equipment – it can damage any part of the human body.
If compressed air gets into the bloodstream, the result can be fatal. A pressure strong enough to dust or clean is strong enough to break the skin and penetrate the body. Even pressures as low as five to 10 pounds per square inch can cause an injury.
Almost any part of a compressed-air system can be hazardous including the compressor, the storage tank, valves, regulators, and the line that moves the air to the point of use.
Even at a relatively low pressure, flammable gases, such as acetylene, butane, ethylene, hydrogen, methylamine, and vinyl chloride, can burn or explode when they are accidentally released from a broken or leaking valve or from a safety device.