Plant & Works Engineering

How much do you know about your compressed air system?

Published:  10 June, 2007

How much do you know about your compressed air system?  This will depend in part on the nature of your responsibility for it.  It may be as a production, health and safety, energy, environment, quality, lean production, six sigma, technical, utilities and even purchasing group leader or manager job function which has some aspect of responsibility for the compressed air resource on site.  This is not surprising considering the wide ranging impact this invisible yet invaluable resource has in terms of productivity and output, employees' health and safety, and environmental impact.

If responsible for the day-to-day running, you should know:

  • What compressed air is used for on site - both approved and unregulated/indiscriminate uses
  • Annual energy (usually electrical) costs
  • Reliability issues and the processes affected
  • Sources of impartial authoritative information on technical and production related compressed air issues.
  • Key hazards and risks employees face in using compressed air, e.g. blow guns, hand-held air tools.

The main health and safety and legislative issues are:

  • Employer responsibility and compliance with health and safety legislation related to compressed air, noise and vibration of hand held air tools
  • Compliance with the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000.

The key environmental impacts are:

  • Energy (electrical) consumption
  • Proper disposal of condensate (may be classed as hazardous waste)

So, whatever your involvement in compressed air systems knowing where to find the relevant information from an independent source, is key to keeping your air supply, safe, reliable and efficient. 

BCAS as the UK trade body for all matters compressed air has a range of fact sheets, publications, training courses and seminars to meet this need.  Members (suppliers or users of compressed air equipment) also benefit from specialist tailored advice. Contact BCAS or visit our website to find out more.