Here is a great safety video about welding that you can share during your next toolbox talk – specifically about all the welding hazards you may encounter.
When working around oxyacetylene, you may not realize the serious hazards that exist. Many workers don’t, so you’re definitely not alone in this. Don’t worry – we’re not saying you’re careless, it’s just that the hazards of gas welding aren’t always obvious.
Here are some safety tips to be mindful of when working with these not so obvious hazards:
- When a compressed gas cylinder is not in use, remove its regulator, and replace the valve cap. This is the best way to protect the cylinder valve from damage.
- Secure every cylinder in the upright position. This helps prevent a cylinder from being accidentally knocked over and damaged. If a cylinder’s valve stem were to be sheared off in a fall, there is enough stored energy to turn the cylinder into an unguided missile, which could shoot across the shop or yard, destroying anything in its path.
- When working with Acetylene, know that it is an extremely unstable gas. It has a very wide explosive range and it can be dangerously explosive at pressures above 15 psi. Therefore, acetylene must never be used at hose pressures greater than 15 psi.
- Oxygen placed under high pressure can erupt into flames or even explode if it comes into contact with oil or grease. This is why you should never use oil or grease on any gas welding apparatus, including cylinder caps. Don’t change cylinders or regulator valves unless you have clean hands. Even just having a little bit on your hands could cause an unfortunate explosion.
- Always close cylinder valves when you are done of your work (i.e. break and go to lunch). Even a small leak in the hose could allow gas to accumulate in the workplace creating the potential for fire or explosion.
- When opening regulator valves, turn them slowly and stand to one side. If oxygen and acetylene were to mix inside the regulator under pressure, an explosion could result.
- Regularly inspect the gauges to make sure they are in proper working order to prevent possible malfunctions and ensure accurate gauge settings. Any damaged or inoperable gauges should be repaired or replaced before use.
- DO NOT use oxygen to ventilate a confined or enclosed space. An oxygen enriched confined environment creates a serious fire and explosion hazard.
Please remember that these are just a few of the hazards you may encounter while welding – always complete a thorough hazard assessment form to make sure you’re safe on the job!
Need more toolbox talk welding topics? Click here for one about eye protection while performing welding tasks.