How to Operate a Compressor Safely


We supply many parts for industrial machines such as compressors, with manufacturers like Flender Couplings making specialist parts for such applications. We often focus on the parts themselves and their various specifications on our blog, but here we will take a wider view at compressor machines themselves, specifically an industrial air compressor, and how to operate it safely.

Industrial air compressors are often employed in manufacturing plants and they come with a variety of health and safety concerns. First and foremost it is of paramount importance that every employee operating the machine is fully trained, and non-operating employees fully educated in the dangers so they don’t make unwitting mistakes that undermine the machine’s safe operation.

Let’s look at three of the biggest mistakes you must avoid when using an industrial air compressor in the workplace.

Not Wearing the Correct Safety Gear

Industrial air compressors blow a lot of dirt and debris around while they are operating, so safety goggles or glasses are a must. The dirt and debris can get in the eyes of the operator and cause irritation at the least, and long-term damage at the worst. The safety glasses with side shields are the most appropriate as they adequately protect the eyes from multiple directions.

The operator should also be wearing OSHA-approved ear protectors. Ear protection is equally important to eye protection when operating a compressor, especially if it is a gas-powered air compressor. These machines make a lot of loud and sudden noise which can be damaging if you are exposed to it over an extended period of time. Even operators of the somewhat quieter electric-powered air compressors should wear ear protectors.

One other safety concern would the operator’s feet, so special shoes or boots fitted with steel toe caps are also important. If you are using air compression on heavy machinery parts, then without steel cap footwear, there is the possibility of serious injury should the heavy part dislodge from its place under the compressor’s pressure and fall.

Not Shutting Down a Compressor for Maintenance

Industrial air compressors require regular maintenance, whether it be for general cleaning, lubricating or replacing a part with something from the Flender Couplings suppliers range like the ZAPEX coupling (ideal for use in compressor applications). It can be tempting to undertake such maintenance as quickly as possible, but not shutting down the compressor completely can be dangerous.

Performing maintenance while an electric-powered compressor is running can give electric shocks to the operator and cause damage to the machine itself. So always shut down an electric compressor and unplug it from the electricity source before performing maintenance.

Continuing to Use a Faulty Compressor

A defective industrial air compressor is a serious danger to the operator. Any problems with the hoses, couplings or wiring should be addressed and repaired completely before allowing the compressor to be operated again. Always inspect each compressor before use, and ensure the operators remain vigilant by listening out for any unusual sounds or smelling any strange odours during operation.

If you require parts for industrial air compressors such as the ZAPEX model from Flender Couplings, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading Flender Couplings suppliers.