Compressed air applied to human skin


Thread Starter

Jan Huyser

For an experiment, I need to apply a small jet of air directly to human skin surface, for a small period of time. I envisage approx 300mmHg (6psi) driving force, to apply 50mmHg (1psi) to the skin for a duration of approx 500ms, from a distance of approx 10mm.

Does anyone know where I stand on health and safety legislation, or indeed, where I may obtain specific legislative documentation pertaining to this type of application?

There is little information on "acceptable" conditions since "air embolism" is possible under damaged skin or scar tissue; irrespective of the applied pressure.

Bruce Durdle

-- for example, an incident quoted in HSE info available here is the case of a guy who cut his hand while working in a fairly dusty environemnt. To clean the dust off before dealing with the cut, he used a compressed air jet. Ended up taking all the skin off his hand - the air got between the inner and outer layers and did a very good job of separating them.

Matthew Hyatt


FDA, OSHA, and possibly a few other organizations will have some information on this matter. I would check with FDA first as there are air type injection units for giving shots. You are in a very high risk environment with this type of experiment or work, accidentially killing someone by injection of air into the bloodstream, hope you have very good insurance.
I don't know the answer ... but I suggest that you try to research through the people who make the medical devices used to administer "shots" for the military ... if I remember correctly from basic training, those "guns" used compressed air to force vaccines through the skin ... I'm not sure if anyone still uses the same technique ... I know that you're trying to NOT force anything into the skin, but if anyone would know the answer to your question, I'd bet that the "shot gun" manufacturers would be the ones to ask ...

good luck,