TC 9-237 – Chapter 2 – Section II

Section II. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IN OXYFUEL WELDING

2-6. GENERAL



a. In addition to the information listed in section I of this chapter, the following safety precautions must be observed.



b. Do not experiment with torches or regulators in any way. Do not use oxygen regulators with acetylene cylinders. Do not use any lubricants on regulators or tanks.



c. Always use the proper tip or nozzle, and always operate it at the proper pressure for the particular work involved. This information should be taken from work sheets or tables supplied with the equipment.



d. When not in use, make sure the torch is not burning. Also, release the regulators, bleed the hoses, and tightly close the valves. Do not hang the torch with its hose on the regulator or cylinder valves.



e. Do not light a torch with a match or hot metal, or in a confined space. The explosive mixture of acetylene and oxygen might cause personal injury or property damage when ignited. Use friction lighters or stationary pilot flames.



f. When working in confined spaces, provide adequate ventilation for the dissipation of explosive gases that may be generated. For ventilation standards, refer to paragraph 2-4, Health Protection and Ventilation.



g. Keep a clear space between the cylinder and the work so the cylinder valves can be reached easily and quickly.



h. Use cylinders in the order received. Store full and empty cylinders separately and mark the empty ones with “MT”.



i. Compressed gas cylinders owned by commercial companies will not be painted regulation Army olive drab.



j. Never use cylinders for rollers, supports, or any purpose other than thatfor which they are intended.



k. Always wear protective clothing suitable for welding or flame cutting.



l. Keep work area clean and free from hazardous materials. When flame cutting, sparks can travel 30 to 40 ft (9 to 12 m). Do not allow flare cut sparks to hit hoses, regulators, or cylinders.



m. Use oxygen and acetylene or other fuel gases with the appropriate torches and only for the purpose intended.



n. Treat regulators with respect. Do not turn valve handle using force.



o. Always use the following sequence and technique for lighting a torch:



(1) Open acetylene cylinder valve.



(2) Open acetylene torch valve 1/4 turn.



(3) Screw in acetylene regulator adjusting valve handle to working pressure.



(4) Turn off the acetylene torch valve (this will purge the acetylene line).



(5) Slowly open oxygen cylinder valve all the way.



(6) Open oxygen torch valve 1/4 turn.



(7) Screw in oxygen regulator screw to working pressure.



(8) Turn off oxygen torch valve (this will purge the oxygen line).



(9) Open acetylene torch valve 1/4 turn and light with lighter.

NOTE

Use only friction type lighter or specially provided lighting device.



(10) Open oxygen torch valve 1/4 turn.



(11) Adjust to neutral flame.



p. Always use the following sequence and technique for shutting off a torch:



(1) Close acetylene torch valve first, then the oxygen valve.



(2) Close acetylene cylinder valve, then oxygen cylinder valve.



(3) Open torch acetylene and oxygen valves to release pressure in the regulator and hose.



(4) Back off regulator adjusting valve handle until no spring tension is left.



(5) Close torch valves.



q. Use mechanical exhaust at the point of welding when welding or cutting lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, brass, bronze, zinc, or galvanized steel.



r. Do not weld or flame cut on containers that have held combustibles without taking special precautions.



s. Do not weld or flame cut into sealed container or compartment without providing vents and taking special precautions.



t. Do not weld or cut in a confined space without taking special precautions.

2-7. ACETYLENE CYLINDERS

CAUTION

If acetylene cylinders have been stored or transported horizontally (on their sides), stand cylinders vertically (upright) for 45 minutes prior to (before) use.



a. Always refer to acetylene by its full name and not by the word “gas” alone. Acetylene is very different from city or furnace gas. Acetylene is a compound of carbon and hydrogen, produced by the reaction of water and calcium carbide.



b. Acetylene cylinders must be handled with care to avoid damage to the valves or the safety fuse plug. The cylinders must be stored upright in a well ventilated, well protected, dry location at least 20 ft from highly combustible materials such as oil, paint, or excelsior. Valve protection caps must always be in place, handtight, except when cylinders are in use. Do not store the cylinders near radiators, furnaces, or in any are with above normal temperatures. In tropical climates, care must be taken not to store acetylene in areas where the temperature is in excess of 137°F (58°C). Heat will increase the pressure, which may cause the safety fuse plug in the cylinder to blow out. Storage areas should be located away from elevators, gangways, or other places where there is danger of cylinders being knocked over or damaged by falling objects.



c. A suitable truck, chain, or strap must be used to prevent cylinders from falling or being knocked over while in use. Cylinders should be kept at a safe distance from the welding operation so there will be little possibility of sparks, hot slag, or flames reaching them. They should be kept away from radiators, piping systems, layout tables, etc., which may be used for grounding electrical circuits. Non-sparking tools should be used when changing fittings on cylinders of flammable gases.



d. Never use acetylene without reducing the pressure with a suitable pressure reducing regulator. Never use acetylene at pressures in excess of 15 psi.



e. Before attaching the pressure regulators, open each acetylene cylinder valve for an instant to blow dirt out of the nozzles. Wipe off the connection seat with a clean cloth. Do not stand in front of valves when opening them.



f. Outlet valves which have become clogged with ice should be thawed with warm water. Do not use scalding water or an open flame.



g. Be sure the regulator tension screw is released before opening the cylinder valve. Always open the valve slowly to avoid strain on the regulator gauge which records the cylinder pressure. Do not open the valve more than one and one-half turns. Usually, one-half turn is sufficient. Always use the special T-wrench provided for the acetylene cylinder valve. Leave this wrench on the stem of the valve tile the cylinder is in use so the acetylene can be quickly turned off in an emergency.



h. Acetylene is a highly combustible fuel gas and great care should be taken to keep sparks, flames, and heat away from the cylinders. Never open an acetylene cylinder valve near other welding or cutting work.



i. Never test for an acetylene leak with an open flame. Test all joints with soapy water. Should a leak occur around the valve stem of the cylinder, close the valve and tighten the packing nut. Cylinders leaking around the safety fuse plug should be taken outdoors, away from all fires and sparks, and the valve opened slightly to permit the contents to escape.



j. If an acetylene cylinder should catch fire, it can usually be extinguished with a wet blanket. A burlap bag wet with calcium chloride solution is effective for such an emergency. If these fail, spray a stream of water on the cylinder to keep it cool.



k. Never interchange acetylene regulators, hose, or other apparatus with similar equipment intended for oxygen.



l. Always turn the acetylene cylinder so the valve outlet will point away from the oxygen cylinder.



m. When returning empty cylinders, see that the valves are closed to prevent escape of residual acetylene or acetone solvent. Screw on protecting caps.



n. Make sure that all gas apparatus shows UL or FM approval, is installed properly, and is in good working condition.



o. Handle all compressed gas with extreme care. Keep cylinder caps on when not in use.



p. Make sure that all compressed gas cylinders are secured to the wall or other structural supports. Keep acetylene cylinders in the vertical condition.



q. Store compressed gas cylinders in a safe place with good ventilation. Acetylene cylinders and oxygen cylinders should be kept apart.



r. Never use acetylene at a pressure in excess of 15 psi (103.4 kPa). Higher pressure can cause an explosion.



s. Acetylene is nontoxic; however, it is an anesthetic and if present in great enough concentrations, is an asphyxiant and can produce suffocation.

2-8. OXYGEN CYLINDERS

a. Always refer to oxygen by its full name and not by the word “air” alone.



b. Oxygen should never be used for “air” in any way.

WARNING

Oil or grease in the presence of oxygen will ignite violently, especially in an enclosed pressurized area.



c. Oxygen cylinders shall not be stored near highly combustible material, especially oil and grease; near reserve stocks of carbide and acetylene or other fuel gas cylinders, or any other substance likely to cause or accelerate fire; or in an acetylene generator compartment.



d. Oxygen cylinders stored in outside generator houses shall be separated from the generator or carbide storage rooms by a noncombustible partition having a fire resistance rating of at least 1 hour. The partition shall be without openings and shall be gastight.



e. Oxygen cylinders in storage shall be separated from fuel gas cylinders or combustible materials (especially oil or grease) by a minimum distance of 20.0 ft (6.1 m) or by a noncombustible barrier at least 5.0 ft (1.5 m) high and having a fire-resistance rating of at least one-half hour.



f. Where a liquid oxygen system is to be used to supply gaseous oxygen for welding or cutting and a bulk storage system is used, it shall comply with the provisions of the Standard for Bulk Oxygen Systems at Consumer Sites, NFPA No. 566-1965, National Fire Protection Association.



g. When oxygen cylinders are in use or being roved, care must be taken to avoid dropping, knocking over, or striking the cylinders with heavy objects. Do not handle oxygen cylinders roughly.



h. All oxygen cylinders with leaky valves or safety fuse plugs and discs should be set aside and marked for the attention of the supplier. Do not tamper with or attempt to repair oxygen cylinder valves. Do not use a hammer or wrench to open the valves.



i. Before attaching the pressure regulators, open each oxygen cylinder valve for an instant to blow out dirt and foreign matter from the nozzle. Wipe off the connection seat with a clean cloth. Do not stand in front of the valve when opening it.

WARNING

Do not substitute oxygen for compressed air in pneumatic tools. Do not use oxygen to blow out pipe lines, test radiators, purge tanks or containers, or to “dust” clothing or work.



j. Open the oxygen cylinder valve slowly to prevent damage to regulator high pressure gauge mechanism. Be sure that the regulator tension screw is released the before opening the valve. When not in use, the cylinder valve should be closed and the protecting caps screwed on to prevent damage to the valve.



k. When the oxygen cylinder is in use, open the valve to the full limit to prevent leakage around the valve stem.



l. Always use regulators on oxygen cylinders to reduce the cylinder pressure to a low working pressure. High cylinder pressure will burst the hose.



m. Never interchange oxygen regulators, hoses, or other apparatus with similar equipment intended for other gases.

2-9. MAPP GAS CYLINDERS

a. MAPP gas is a mixture of stabilized methylacetylene and propadiene.



b. Store liquid MAPP gas around 70°F (21°C) and under 94 psig pressure.



c. Repair any leaks immediately. MAPP gas vaporizes when the valve is opened and is difficult to detect visually. However, MAPP gas has an obnoxious odor detectable at 100 parts per million, a concentration 1/340th of its lower explosive limit in air. If repaired when detected, leaks pose little or no danger. However, if leaks are ignored, at very high concentrations (5000 parts per million and above) MAPP gas has an anesthetic effect.



d. Proper clothing must be worn to prevent injury to personnel. Once released into the open air, liquid MAPP gas boils at -36 to -4°F (-54 to -20°C). This causes frost-like burns when the gas contacts the skin.



e. MAPP gas toxicity is rated very slight, but high concentrations (5000 part per million) may have an anesthetic affect.



f. MAPP gas has some advantages in safety which should be considered when choosing a process fuel gas, including the following:



(1) MAPP gas cylinders will not detonate when dented, dropped, or incinerated.



(2) MAPP gas can be used safely at the full cylinder pressure of 94 psig.



(3) Liquefied fuel is insensitive to shock.



(4) Explosive limits of MAPP gas are low compared to acetylene.



(5) Leaks can be detected easily by the strong smell of MAPP gas.



(6) MAPP cylinders are easy to handle due to their light weight.

2-10. FUEL GAS CYLINDERS

a. Although the most familiar fuel gas used for cutting and welding is acetylene, propane, natural gas, and propylene are also used. Store these fuel gas cylinders in a specified, well-ventilated area or outdoors, and in a vertical condition.



b. Any cylinders must have their caps on, and cylinders, either filled or empty, should have the valve closed.



c. Care must be taken to protect the valve from damage or deterioration. The major hazard of compressed gas is the possibility of sudden release of the gas by removal or breaking off of the valve. Escaping gas which is under high pressure will cause the cylinder to act as a rocket, smashing into people and property. Escaping fuel gas can also be a fire or explosion hazard.



d. In a fire situation there are special precautions that should be taken for acetylene cylinders. All acetylene cylinders are equipped with one or more safety relief devices filled with a low melting point metal. This fusible metal melts at about the killing point of water (212°F or 100°C). If fire occurs on or near an acetylene cylinder the fuse plug will melt. The escaping acetylene may be ignited and will burn with a roaring sound. Immediately evacuate all people from the area. It is difficult to put out such a fire. The best action is to put water on the cylinder to keep it cool and to keep all other acetylene cylinders in the area cool. Attempt to remove the burning cylinder from close proximity to other acetylene cylinders, from flammable or hazardous materials, or from combustible buildings. It is best to allow the gas to burn rather than to allow acetylene to escape, mix with air, and possibly explode.



e. If the fire on a cylinder is a small flame around the hose connection, the valve stem, or the fuse plug, try to put it out as quickly as possible. A wet glove, wet heavy cloth, or mud slapped on the flame will frequently extinguish it. Thoroughly wetting the gloves and clothing will help protect the person approaching the cylinder. Avoid getting in line with the fuse plug which might melt at any time.



f. Oxygen cylinders should be stored separately from fuel gas cylinders and separately from combustible materials. Store cylinders in cool, well-ventilated areas. The temperature of the cylinder should never be allowed to exceed 130°F (54°C).



g. When cylinders are empty they should be marked empty and the valves must be closed to prohibit contamination from entering.



h. When the gas cylinders are in use a regulator is attached and the cylinder should be secured to prevent falling by means of chains or clamps.



i. Cylinders for portable apparatuses should be securely mounted in specially designed cylinder trucks.



j. Cylinders should be handled with respect. They should not be dropped or struck. They should never be used as rollers. Hammers or wrenches should not be used to open cylinder valves that are fitted with hand wheels. They should never be moved by electromagnetic cranes. They should never be in an electric circuit so that the welding current could pass through them. An arc strike on a cylinder will damage the cylinder causing possible fracture, requiring the cylinder to be condemned and discarded from service.

2-11. HOSES

a. Do not allow hoses to come in contact with oil or grease. These will penetrate and deteriorate the rubber and constitute a hazard with oxygen.



b. Always protect hoses from being walked on or run over. Avoid kinks and tangles. Do not leave hoses where anyone can trip over them. This could result in personal injury, damaged connections, or cylinders being knocked over. Do not work with hoses over the shoulder, around the legs, or tied to the waist.



c. Protect hoses from hot slag, flying sparks, and open flames.



d. Never force hose connections that do not fit. Do not use white lead, oil, grease, or other pipe fitting compounds for connections on hose, torch, or other equipment. Never crimp hose to shut off gases.



e. Examine all hoses periodically for leaks by immersing them in water while under pressure. Do not use matches to check for leaks in acetylene hose. Repair leaks by cutting hose and inserting a brass splice. Do not use tape for mending. Replace hoses if necessary.



f. Make sure that hoses are securely attached to torches and regulators before using.



g. Do not use new or stored hose lengths without first blowing them out with compressed air to eliminate talc or accumulated foreign matter which might otherwise enter and clog the torch parts.



h. Only approved gas hoses for flame cutting or welding should be used with oxyfuel gas equipment. Single lines, double vulcanized, or double multiple stranded lines are available.



i. The size of hose should be matched to the connectors, regulators, and torches.



j. In the United States, the color green is used for oxygen, red for acetylene or fuel gas, and black for inert gas or compressed air. The international standard calls for blue for oxygen and orange for fuel gas.



k. Connections on hoses are right-handed for inert gases and oxygen, and left-handed for fuel gases.



l. The nuts on fuel gas hoses are identified by a groove machined in the center of the nuts.



m. Hoses should be periodically inspected for burns, worn places, or leaks at the connections. They must be kept in good repair and should be no longer than necessary.

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