Oxy-fuel welding is a function not only requiring skill, but safety as well. Disregarding the use of the proper safety procedures when using an acetylene torch can have disastrous consequences for the user and those in the surrounding work area.
An acetylene torch and gas pressure regulator are two key tools of the welding trade. Taking proper care and caution when using these two tools will go a long way toward ensuring a safe welding environment.
Gas Pressure Regulators
Regulators reduce the flow of gas from a supply tank to a level that is safe to use. These devices usually consist of a gauge measuring the pressure level in the gas cylinder, and another gauge measuring the pressure of gas flowing through the hose.
Before using a regulator, it’s extremely important to make sure the device meets all of the necessary requirements for use in oxy-fuel cutting operations. Regulators should also be kept in good condition, inspected before each use and repaired when needed only by a properly trained professional.
Here are some additional safety precautions for using gas regulators:
• Always be sure to close the regulator valve before opening the valve to the gas cylinder. Check the manufacturer’s guide if you have any uncertainty concerning the open and close positions of the regulator valve.
• Using a wrench of the correct size is important when connecting regulators to gas cylinders. Prevent causing damage to the regulator by avoiding a forced connection.
• Avoid high pressure gas surges from regulators by slowly opening the cylinder valve. When doing this, make sure to stand to the side of the regulator, not in front or behind.
• If a leak is suspected, immediately turn off all equipment. Once all equipment is shut down, proceed to check for leaks using a regulatory agency-approved detection method.
When its comes to torch safety, it is important to use the proper equipment, check for leaks at connection points and purging hoses before igniting the flame. Keeping the torch in top condition is also essential in order to avoid hazardous situations where leaks might occur.
Other safety precautions to keep in mind:
• Avoid putting torches in contact with oil, grease and hydrocarbons such as butane and propane.
• Steer clear of using a wrench to tighten or seat the valve system in situations where shutting off the control valve by hand is difficult.
• Keep the mixer seat of the torch clear of dust and other particles.
• Make sure the pack nuts on the throttle valve are properly adjusted before each use.
These tips just touch the surface on the safety protocols for proper torch and pressure regulator use. For more information on welding safety, try contacting a specialty gas equipment supplier or the American Welding Society (AWS). welding hose manufacturers