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Compressed air and gases

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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.

  • Checklists
  • Fact sheets
    • Compressed air for cleaning
      Explains how to clean safely with compressed air.
      English  02/28/2023
    • Compressed air piping systems
      Covers Oregon OSHA's requirements for compressed air piping including restrictions on using PVC pipe, labeling, and cleaning with compressed air.
      English  10/03/2011
    • Compressed gas safety
      Key safety and health requirements for working with compressed gases, including safe handling and use, cylinder storage, and cylinder inspection.
      English  05/11/2015
  • References
    • Rules with requirements
      We get many calls and emails from employers asking the same question. It begins: “Which of your rules have requirements for…” You can finish the sentence with words like “recordkeeping,” “employee training,” and “written documents.” To answer those questions, we’ve organized these rules requirements into a filterable, sortable, searchable table.
      English  05/10/2019

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Oxygen-Fuel and Compressed Gas

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