Acetylene is commonly used in gas cutting. In welding and metal cutting, acetylene is widely used. It is very flammable and can bring disastrous accidents if not handled with precautions. In addition to the acetylene, oxygen is widely used too for gas cutting. It helps to burn the object at an increased rate.
Both the oxygen and the acetylene are stored in a cylinder which can rapture without giving you any warning.
I know you all are familiar with the preamble, but I had to mention it to understand the gravity of safety precautions you need to exercise in gas cutting. Just wearing your helmet while welding won’t be enough. So, I will try to mention all the gas cutting safety precautions that you can follow.
Safety Precautions In Gas Cutting
Since there is no better alternative to compressed gas cylinders for gas cutting, we have to be careful and follow some safety guidelines to stay safe. The chance of happening hazardous accidents increases when you become irresponsible. Here are some guidelines for gas welding or cutting operation to stay safe:
- Store In Upright Position
In your workshop, there will be empty and full cylinder of compressed gas. You need to mark them separately and always store them in a vertical position. It does no matter whether these cylinders are empty or full, you must handle them with care.
- Storing In Separate Places
If you have a very tiny workshop, it may not be possible for you. But safety experts recommend never to keep both the oxygen and acetylene gas cylinder in the same place. Whenever possible, keep them separated in a well-ventilated place.
- Beware of Oil & Grease
When you will be handling these cylinders or you have to move them from here and there for your work, loot at your hands. Your hands should be completely free of oil & grease. These are highly combustible and you must ensure the control valves of these cylinders are free of them.
- Notice Gas Pressure
When you do gas welding, you never want the acetylene to go back to the oxygen line. This may lead to an explosion. So, make sure the gas pressure of the oxygen is always higher than the acetylene.
- Deal With Acetylene With Care
You may not know, even in the absence of air, acetylene may explode under heavy pressure. While welding, keep a sharp eye on the atmosphere gauge bar. Never use it for welding if the pressure is exceeding one bar of the gauge.
- Investigate Cause of Backfire& Flashback
Backfire happens in gas welding. When it happens, close the oxygen cylinder valve first, then close the valve of the acetylene cylinder. Never resume welding until you figure out the cause of the backfire and fix it.
For flashback or explosion, isolate the valves of both the cylinder types first. Immediately turn off the oxygen first then turn off the acetylene. Then investigate carefully the reasons and resume only when everything is fixed.
- Steady Monitoring
Elevating the temperature of the acetylene cylinder is a big safety concern. You should keep a steady watch on it. Take preventive measures to keep the temperature at a steady level.
- Keep Right Type of Fire extinguisher
There are a lot of types of fire extinguishers like A, B, C, D, etc. right? But for gas welding, Type A, B, and D won’t be effective. Only type C fire extinguishers are effective against electrical fire caused by welding machine or other electrical motors. This is something you can’t ignore to have for your gas cutting safety precautions.
- Great Ventilation
Yes, gas cutting will create a lot of fumes and eventually make the working space pretty hot. Since the temperature will be increased, the temperature of the acetylene gas cylinder will fluctuate too. This is something you want to avoid. So, install an exhaust fan to keep the workspace well-ventilated.
Never make the mistake of using oxygen for cleaning, ventilation, or cooling purposes.
- Common Sense Precautions
You should check for any leaks. There may be a leak in the cylinders or in the hoses.
Replace them immediately if you find any. To ignite the flame, always use any flint lighter to stay safe. When you need to open the cylinder valves, stand aside from the regulators.
Any sudden high pressure may lead the regulators of cylinders to explode. So open the valves slowly to avoid such incidents. Keep a wrench in a designated place so that you can use it to close the cylinder quickly in times of emergency.
When you need to move the cylinders, make sure to close the valves first and do not drag them in any cases. Avoid any sudden movement while transporting the cylinders.
The cylinder valves themselves may be damaged or broken without your knowledge. Check them regularly and replace if necessary. You do not want to see a rocket show in your welding zone.
- Avoid Sealing Tape
Using sealing tape is popular to fix the problem of leaking. However, in gas welding, this is very dangerous and you should avoid using it. Sealing tape may initiate the oxygen-metal fire at any time.
- Be Careful With Leak Detection Fluid
To detect the leak in the cylinders or the hose, use only approved leak detection fluid. If you can’t find them, you can use ivory (some kind of non-detergent soap) a well.
- Never Use Acetylene To Clean
We love to use the cylinder to blow the dust off the workspace or cloths. Never do that with the acetylene cylinder. In fact, never use it for the cleaning or cooling purpose. You may end up having a terrible explosion!
This is a part of wearing your personal protective equipment. Not just gas cutting, any sort of welding deserves taking the maximum precautions. Gas welding involves a lot of sparks and spatters. You should wear good quality protective clothing gear. Consider having a leather welding jacket for this purpose.
For other protective equipment, you may have the fire-resistant cape, long sleeves shirts, gloves, fire-proof apron, etc. It is wise to check the condition of this personal protective equipment before you use them. Make sure they are free of oil and grease too.
- Careful Maintenance
Be careful and use only special tools while cleaning the clogged blowpipe. Make sure every cylinder and equipment are isolated before you start the schedule maintenance. Do not try to modify or repair the cylinders of oxygen and acetylene yourself.
Gas cutting is a high-risk job, not following certain safety guidelines will multiply the likelihood of having a disastrous explosion. To avoid such a life-threatening explosion, follow these aforementioned safety tips.