4 Tips For Keeping Your Construction Site Safer And Cleaner When Using Commercial Air Compressors

A large and powerful air compressor is the perfect source of power for drills, saws, and other pneumatic devices used for tough jobs like boring holes in concrete. However, all that air-powered cutting and grinding can also release a lot of dust that blows around the site and can even damage the air compressor itself. Protect your equipment, workers, and anyone living near the construction site by using these four tips.

Add in Water

Dampening dust with a steady and light spray of water stops it from spreading and makes it easier to collect and clean up. You'll need to mount a pressurized water tank on the trailer that carries the compressor, run a line along with the air hose, and add a separate nozzle for dispensing the water directly onto the cutting blade or drill bit. Wet cutting, grinding, and drilling is essential when finished concrete is being removed or worked, since the silica dust is so prolific and irritating to the lungs. Keep in mind that this technique produces both excess moisture and a sticky mud-like mixture of wet dust, so you won't want to use it in delicate areas where surfaces may be damaged by the water.

Suck Up Dust

Working in a finished area where water and wet dust will make a mess? Turn to a vacuum system instead to suck away the tiny particles as they're produced by the air compressor tool. While vacuum systems used to be limited to workshops and other fixed areas due to their size and complexity, there are plenty of portable attachments built to fit pneumatic construction site tools. Look for a system that places the vacuum port directly around or next to the blade, bit, or other tool tip. This ensures that dust doesn't billow out and escape before the vacuum catches it.

Catching dust early prevents it from being sucked back into the air compressor through its air intake ports. If the compressor fills up with abrasive dust on the inside, it'll break down quickly or overheat. Vacuum systems are more reliable than wetting equipment when it comes to protecting the air compressor powering your equipment and improving air quality for the safety of your workers.

Avoid Direct Spraying

With equipment on hand that releases a powerful and direct blast of air anywhere you point it, it may seem natural to harness that power for cleaning purposes. However, it's not recommended that you use an air compressor to remove dust and dirt from equipment or to spray dust off of workers. The air is traveling at such a high speed that it can damage the eyes and skin, or even cause a very rare embolism if air manages to enter the bloodstream. Stirring up dust by blowing it off of equipment also increases the likelihood of damage as debris is forced deeper into seams, vents, and other areas where it can build up. In fact, cleaning up with an air compressor is outright illegal in some areas due to the dangers.

Position Outlets Carefully

Finally, don't forget to consider how much dust is going into the air compressor itself due to the layout and condition of the work site. When possible, orientate the compressor intake air ports so they're far from the work area where dust is being produced. You can use extra long air hoses to allow your workers to get further away from the compressor while still getting plenty of pressure and power. If you can't isolate the intake ports from the dust, consider investing in higher grade filters to make sure you trap as much of the incoming dust as possible.

For more information on air compressors, contact a company like Compressed Air Systems.