Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welding Gas Cylinder Safety Tips

By Brad M. Musech

Proper handling of gas cylinders is one aspect that usually gets overlooked in the welding industry. Most welding gases contain a combination of CO2, Argon, and Helium which are non flammable and non explosive but they can still be very harmful. If the cylinder gets knocked over causing the valve to be broken off, the exceedingly elevated pressure exiting from the cylinder can cause major harm to you, those around you, and any objects in the area.

Proper caution should be used when handling a gas cylinder. Accidents can come about very quickly and can cause irreversible damage. The purpose of this post is to provide simple steps that can be followed when using a gas cylinder.

Have a constant awareness of your surroundings at all times. If you are, transporting, removing from a machine or the cylinder is being stored, the cylinder ought to be firmly fastened. If appropriate, use a threaded cylinder cap when transferring the cylinder. This guards the valve lest the cylinder tips over or bumps into something.

There are a couple of different options when moving a gas cylinder; first, use a cart if one is accessible. Secondly, you can roll the cylinder by placing it in a vertical position. The preferred method is to use a cart which is intended specifically for gas cylinders. Most carts come complete with a chain or some other kind of restraint to lock the cylinder in place.

When storing your cylinder, either on or near your welder, or in a designated full/empty area the cylinders should always be secured with some kind of safety strap or chain. Also you do not want to use the cylinder as a storage hook for cables, MIG guns, power cords, welding torches. With possible heat and the chance of any arc forming in combination with the cylinder can be damaging to the cylinder and very dangerous.

All gas cylinders are designed to be used in an upright vertical position at all times. Some gas cylinders contain liquid as well as gas. Using the cylinder in a horizontal position can allow the liquid inside the cylinder to leak out or forced out of the cylinder if lying in the flat position for any period of time.

The single most important advice in handling a cylinder is use your common sense. It is extremely imperative for you to be certain what you are doing when operating all welding and cutting equipment. If you are unconfident of a process please contact somebody who is knowledgeable. With the internet and all the other resources at your fingertips, the correct information is just seconds away.

The handling of welding gas cylinders is something that we need to be aware of at all times. Everyone knows accidents can happen, but it is your job to do your part and follow any safety procedures and use common sense to keep you and others safe. If something feels wrong it usually is. Take the time to ask someone who knows for safety sake and piece of mind.

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