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Air Compressor Tanks


October 2003
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101
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Self-Inspection Checklist

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This checklist covers regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA under General Industry standard 29 CFR 1910.169. It applies to air compressor tanks (compressed air receivers used to store compressed air generated by an air compressor), and other equipment used in providing and using compressed air for operations such as cleaning, drilling, hoisting, and chipping. The regulations cited apply only to private employers and their employees, unless adopted by a state agency and applied to other groups such as public employees.

check mark symbol Questions marked with this symbol may require the help of an outside expert.

  1. check mark symbol Do all new and existing air compressor tanks installed after 1971 meet applicable design codes? [29 CFR 1910.169(a)(2)]Note: Equipment purchased from reputable dealers can be assumed to meet applicable codes if the equipment was designed as an air receiver; otherwise, the product literature will have to be consulted. The tank should have an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) label.
  2. Are air compressor tanks installed such that all drains, handholes, and manholes are easily accessible? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(1)]
  3. Are air compressor tanks installed above ground and in an accessible location? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(1)]
  4. Is a drain pipe and valve installed at the lowest point of every air compressor tank so accumulated oil and water can be removed? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(2)]
  5. Is the air compressor tank drained frequently (either manually or by an automatic drain valve) to prevent the accumulation of excessive amounts of liquid in the tank? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(2)]
  6. Is every air compressor tank equipped with a readily visible pressure gauge and with one or more spring-loaded safety valves? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(3)]Note: The total relieving capacity of this safety valve shall be enough to prevent pressure in the receiver from exceeding the maximum allowable working pressure of the receiver by more than 10 percent.
  7. Is the design such that no valve is located between the air compressor tank and the safety valve(s)? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(3)(ii)]
  8. Are safety valves located and installed so that they cannot easily be made inoperative by any means, including the elements? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(3)(iii)]
  9. Are safety valves tested frequently and at regular intervals to determine whether they are in good condition? [29 CFR 1910.169(b)(3)(iv)