Gas welding, cutting and heating apparatus are extremely useful tools for a variety of work and hobby applications. But any procedure that uses oxygen or other flammable gases in the presence of flame carries significant risks. Every worker, from beginner to seasoned professional, needs to be constantly mindful of safety precautions.
Most accidents happen when someone gets tired or careless or is in a hurry and cuts corners. A simple mistake can lead to a serious accident. Here are a few reminders about safety procedures that could save your life or the lives of those around you:
Avoid oxygen regulator fires. Keep regulators, hoses, torches and other oxy-fuel gas equipment free of grease, oil, and other combustibles. Oil grease, coal dust, and similar combustible materials, once ignited, burn violently in the presence of oxygen and can cause serious burns or explosions. Never handle oxygen cylinders or equipment in the same areas with grease or oil.
The results of an uncontained regulator burnout can be a catastrophic explosion, spraying burning materials and metal projectiles that can cause injury, burns or death. Remember that oxygen causes fire to burn more violently. Anything that burns in air burns violently in oxygen. Consider using a regulator that is designed to contain the fire within the chamber if something ignites.
Never use lubricants on oxy-fuel gas equipment. Connections are designed to seat leak tight without sealants or lubricants.
Never substitute oxygen for compressed air. Oxygen should be clearly labeled and never be called ?air.? Oxygen should never be used in pneumatic tools, in oil preheating burners, to start internal combustion engines, to blow out pipelines, to dust clothing or work, for pressure tests of any kind or for ventilation.
Never allow oxygen or oxygen-rich air to saturate your clothing. A spark might quickly start an engulfing fire that may result in serious burns. Materials that can be ignited in air have lower ignition temperatures in oxygen.
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