Oxy-fuel Equipment Safety Guidelines
Safety is a full-time responsibility. Accidents don't need to happen. Always follow these basic safety rules when working with oxy-fuel equipment:
- Chain cylinders to prevent their falling over. An oxygen cylinder with over 2,000 psi in it becomes a lethal projectile if it falls over and its cylinder valve is sheared.
- Vent the oxygen regulator valve before attaching the regulator to the cylinder. This blows any dust or dirt (which may be combustible) off the cylinder valve. Dust and dirt in the regulator inlet provides the fuel that can be ignited by the heat of recompression in an oxygen atmosphere. Inspect the filter in the regulator inlet, if so equipped, to ensure it is in place and it is clean.
- Open the oxygen cylinder valve slowly, and always stand to one side while doing this. This prevents the sudden pressure surge which is accompanied by substantial heat, and also prevents unnecessary strain on the regulator.
- Purge the system by bleeding off each hose independently. If REVERSE FLOW has occurred, this recaution safely bleeds off the mixed gases.
- When using Oxy-Acetylene, always light the acetylene first, when using alternate fuel gases with oxygen, it is permissible to light the torch with both gases flowing. Always check with the manufacturer or other authorities first before attempting to operate oxy-fuel equipment.
- Use the correct tip size and pressure. Each tip is designed to operate at a specific pressure. If too much pressure is used, the system can be back-pressured and REVERSE FLOW occurs. If too little pressure is used, the tip will sputter and pop and perhaps encourage backfire or flashback.
- Keep heat and flames away from combustibles. Obviously, if torch flames and sparks are around combustible materials, they can be ignited easily.
- Do not use oxygen as a substitute for air. If clothing is blown off with oxygen, the clothing will absorb the oxygen. Then if a spark or other source of ignition touches the clothing, the three necessary ingredients for a fire are present. Combustible material burns more vigorously in an oxygen enriched atmosphere than in
air. Serious injury may result.
- The expression, “use no oil” is printed on every regulator gauge. Oil is a combustible material with an extremely low flash point. An oxygen regulator frequently has two of the three necessary ingredients for a fire. If the cylinder valve is opened quickly, the heat of recompression creates an ignition temperature. Oxygen is present, and if oil is also in the area, a combustion triangle is complete and a dangerous explosion can occur.