General Safety Question - Possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses

statdoug

Inactive Registered Visitor
#1
I ran in to a story that I have heard before, in one of our Safety trainings. The anecdote talks about possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses. I have heard this before, but strongly suspect that it is actually an urban legend. Does anyone out there know of any documented cases of this occurring?
 

Marc

Retired Old Goat
Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: General Safety Questions

What is the mechanism? Something like a cleaning head on an air hose being directed at the body and it piercing the skin?
 
#4
Re: General Safety Questions

What is the mechanism? Something like a cleaning head on an air hose being directed at the body and it piercing the skin?
Yeah, unregulated at about 110psi, got under shin and into blood. There have been reported cases of knuckleheads playing around and blowing high pressure air at peoples backsides and causing severe, life threatening injuries in the rectum and lower bowels.

OSHA specifies less than 30psi and then don't use air to clean people under most conditions. Here is an extract of an OSHA interpretation letter from 1994:

"Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requires that compressed air used for cleaning purposes must be reduced to less than 30 psig (pounds per square inch gauge, 204 kPa). Compressed air used for cleaning must only be permitted with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment to protect the operator and other employees from the hazards of the release of compressed air and flying debris."
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
I ran in to a story that I have heard before, in one of our Safety trainings. The anecdote talks about possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses. I have heard this before, but strongly suspect that it is actually an urban legend. Does anyone out there know of any documented cases of this occurring?
Read the attachment ~~~
 

Attachments

SteveK

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
I ran in to a story that I have heard before, in one of our Safety trainings. The anecdote talks about possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses. I have heard this before, but strongly suspect that it is actually an urban legend. Does anyone out there know of any documented cases of this occurring?
I wonder if this is just related to tubing mis-connections e.g. 'luer' fittings which have been an ongoing medical problem. An example of such reporting can be found here:

https://www.premierinc.com/safety/topics/tubing-misconnections/

"A non-invasive blood pressure insufflation tube is accidentally connected to IV line--delivers air under pressure into the bloodstream causing an air embolism."

Difficult to see how an actual "air hose" could could be directly linked up to a patient's blood stream. These are typically 6.5mm ID composite PVC tubing devices with large metal fittings e.g. NIST as per ISO 5359.

Steve
 

TPMB4

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
It has been put into HSE alerts in the UK I believe. Our company uses air hoses a lot and we have a company policy that anyone caught using air hoses to clean themselves is sacked immediately. It is a real risk, does occur and has been put out into the H&S arena in the UK at least for years now. If anyone does get it I am sure the HSE investigation would not be favourable on companies if they allow personnel to clean themselves with high pressure hose lines. Although it was commonly done in the past.
 

Richard Davison

Inactive Registered Visitor
#8
Too many years ago to contemplate I was in the plumbing and heating game. A sink unblocker that was on the market back then was essentially a glorified bicycle pump that you "charged" by pumping it repeatedly. You then placed the nozzle with sealing cup on top of the blocked plug hole, pulled the trigger and cleared the blockage (or more often blew the plastic pipework to bits). It was withdrawn after an apprentice plumber thought it would be a laugh to shove it into the back of his mates trousers and blow him up which it did, unfortunately literally. The internal damage was so severe that he bled to death before they got him to hospital. Compressed air and bodies don't mix.
 
#9
I ran in to a story that I have heard before, in one of our Safety trainings. The anecdote talks about possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses. I have heard this before, but strongly suspect that it is actually an urban legend. Does anyone out there know of any documented cases of this occurring?
Absolutely not an urban legend - in high school, my shop teacher was hospitalized for this, and unfortunately suffered permanent damage from it; he was not fooling around, but removing cedar dust from his arms. After that, only staff that had participated in a safety session were permitted to use compressed air hoses, and all trigger air-blowing tips were kept locked up.
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
#10
I ran in to a story that I have heard before, in one of our Safety trainings. The anecdote talks about possibly fatal air embolisms caused by air hoses. I have heard this before, but strongly suspect that it is actually an urban legend. Does anyone out there know of any documented cases of this occurring?
When I was an apprentice a long time ago, I was told by the old blokes that before my time, a group of apprentices grabbed another apprentice put an air hose where the sun don't shine and turned it on and the apprentice died an hour or so later.

True or false, most likely true because apprentices were apprentices when I was one and because we also did silly stupid things during 'initiation'. True also because the apprentices were warned not do this particular trick.
 

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