There’s no doubt that oxy cutting can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to remain vigilant and follow these safety tips. You don’t want an accident to happen, and if you heed these guidelines, you’ll be able to work with oxy-fuel equipment efficiently and safely.
1. Chain cylinders
When operating an oxy cutting machine, if you connect oxy-fuel cylinders together with a chain and connect them to a wall, they won’t fall over and run the risk of becoming a dangerous projectile and shooting off somewhere.
2. Vent before attachment
It’s important to vent the oxygen regulator valve ahead of connecting the cylinder to the regulator. This helps to remove any dirt that might have gathered on the cylinder valve.
3. Handle the oxygen cylinder with care
By opening the oxygen cylinder slowly and carefully, and by standing clear of it when you handle it, you can stop pressure from straining the regulator and remain safe.
4. Bleed the hoses independently
You can purge the oxy-fuel system by bleeding the hoses separately for safety and preventing the gases from mixing.
5. Light in the right order
If you are dealing with oxy-acetylene, it’s important to light the acetylene before anything else, if using this along with other fuel gases. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for ultimate safety.
6. Double check the tip size and pressure
Ensure you are using the proper tip size and pressure when you are dealing with oxy-fuel systems because each tip has its own specific pressure measurement. If the incorrect pressure is used, sometimes this can result in reverse flow or cause the tip to pop and splutter. This can sometimes lead to backfiring, which is dangerous.
7. Keep flames away
When dealing with gas, it’s important to always keep fire, heat and flames far from the gas as they could combust and ignite, causing an accident.
8. Don’t substitute oxygen for air
You need to remember that oxygen shouldn’t be used as a substitute for air because if you blow something away with the oxygen, the substance or object – for example, clothing – will absorb the oxygen. This means that if the object was to come into contact with a flame or spark, a fire could result and the material could combust. This could end in serious injury so it’s important to avoid this scenario.
9. Don’t mix with oil
Oil is highly flammable and only needs a very low flash point to ignite. This means that the oxygen regulator or any of the oxy-fuel should never mix with oil as it could start a fire.
10. Be aware of the fire triangle
Remember the ‘fire triangle’, which is the elements required for oxy-fuel combustion: fuel, oxygen and heat. Avoid mixing these three elements at all costs.