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  • Rick

Another Simple Safety Tip

I previously posted the importance of checking the simple things when trouble-shooting, like making sure you have power. Conversely, once you start to pull things apart, it’s best to remove power from the device.

If it’s electronic, unplug the unit or flip the circuit breaker if it’s hard wired (i.e. cannot be simply unplugged from the wall). If it’s pneumatic, turn off the supply of air and purge the lines to drain any pressure.

For example, most delivery systems (handpiece units) are operated by air. They will have manual shut-offs in the junction box, where air (and sometimes water) come into the room. The manual shut-off includes a knob you should be able to turn by hand. It works just as you’d expect, turn it clockwise to shut the supply off. However, even with the air (and water) turned off at the source, there will still be some air and water in the lines of the unit. These lines will still be under pressure. The best way to de-pressurize the lines is to depress and hold both buttons of your air/water syringe. Syringes normally use “live” air and water feeds so they are always under pressure. This makes the syringe ideally suited to de-pressurizing the lines in an operatory. Just hold down both buttons until air and water cease to flow. Thereafter, you can start pulling things apart as necessary without the risk of pressure blowing things apart as soon as you loosen the first screw.

If you do not have a water valve in the junction box, you likely have bottles to provide the water to the unit. Normally, there is an on/off switch on the bottle. Turn it “off”, then remove the bottle and depressurize the lines as above.

Naturally, you still want to take precautions (e.g. safety glasses), but it’s also important to first de-pressurize and disconnect.


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