Oxy fuel safety is something that is taught by few and ignored by many. But ignoring basic oxy fuel cutting torch safety principles has resulted in many injuries and even fatalities. According to OSHA’s own publications, the risk of from fatal injuries using this equipment is around 4 deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.
That’s a lot! Especially if you are one of them.
The term “Oxy-fuel” refers to welding, brazing, and cutting equipment that uses a fuel gas like acetylene, map gas, propane etc. AND oxygen. Torches that use fuel and plain air do not pose the same risks that are present when using oxy fuel equipment where fuel is mixed with oxygen to produce a much hotter flame than can be achieved using only fuel and air.
These are only a few of the many safety principles you must follow when cutting with an oxy acetylene or oxy fuel torch. Pay close attention to these tips and you will be safer and your cuts will be better too.
1. Never cut on or apply heat directly to a concrete surface.
Concrete contains water, that is trapped within the material. Heat will cause the water to expand. This expansion will cause pieces of the concrete to explode.
2. Clean cutting tip orifices carefully.
The little pre-heat flames are important to keep clean, to prevent tip overheating and maximize time to bring steel to kindling temperature. It is critical that the cutting oxygen orifice is kept clean and smooth. Any roughness will dramatically effect cut quality. So if you don’t have a tip cleaner, Get one!
3. Be aware of sparks – use the Good Neighbor Policy.
Cutting may produce sparks that can fly a considerable distance. Protective screens are advisable, especially if working in a confined area.
4. Use the right size tip. Each manufacturer is different but fortunately most torch makers post tip chart data online. Smith and Victor both have online tip chart information.
Turning down the torch valves to cut thinner metal is not good practice and will allow for an unsafe soft flame that will flashback and pop.
5. Where are your hoses?
Before heating or cutting, be sure to check for the location of the hoses that supply gases to your torch. Double check to insure that no slag, or workpiece will fall directly onto the hoses.
A thorough Oxyfuel safety training course is necessary to address all of the dangers associated with using oxy fuel welding cutting and brazing equipment. Smith Torch company offers an excellent training DVD that is very affordable. welding hose manufacturers