Pressurized air vents from impact tool, spraying oily air into operator's eyes

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Campbell River (northern Vancouver Island)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Western Forest Products Inc.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A mechanic had a high pressure burst of oily air enter under his eye protection when reaching to pick up an impact gun.

As the mechanic reached for the 1-inch air gun (example pictured in attached pdf), his hand made contact with the trigger causing a burst of oily air to be blown from the gun exhaust (located on the top of the air gun on this model) and striking him in the face. Most of the spray hit his protective eyewear, but some made it under the edge of the glasses and entered his eyes.

For maintenance purposes, air guns are loaded with oil to lubricate the inner parts and must be blown out before using. In this case, the worker had oiled the gun, but did not blow the oil out prior to being distracted by another task, nor when he returned to the original task at hand.

Failure to blow the oil out results in an oily exhaust vs. straight air exhaust. Air exhaust systems differ between models (ie bottom, top or trigger area). The air exhaust on this gun blows directly up towards the face of the user when held in the operating position.

The gun in use was a backup gun taken from the Tire Shop. This gun had been modified (handle removed) for wheel removal in Tire Shop to allow access in tight areas.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Learnings & Suggestions:

  • The removal of the handle left the trigger exposed. Safety implications must be considered when modifying tools.
  • Familiarization (orientation/training) with tools not normally utilized should take place prior to use.
  • Wherever possible restore modified tools to original configuration.
  • Consider alternate eye protection when using air tools ie goggle type


For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Glenn Galbraith, Equipment Supervisor 250-287-5035

File attachments
Pressurized air vents from impact tool, spraying oily air into operator's eyes.pdf
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