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Oxygen Acetylene Cutting Torch: OSHA Says Oxy-Fuel Safety is Part of Welding Safety

Two horror stories about oxyfuel safety, and one of them could have been a tragedy.

Story #1

A worker was returning from a lunch break and preparing to complete his task of cutting a truck U-joint with an oxygen acetylene torch.

He opened the acetylene valve and then proceeded to open the oxygen tank valve. The oxygen regulator blew, then saturated his shirt with oxygen. His shirt caught fire and severely burned his torso. It was determined that the cause of the accident was the burnout of the regulator or RBO caused by the worker who did not bleed the pressures when he went to lunch.

Story #2

A worker was preparing for the 4th of July festivities by filling latex gloves with a mixture of oxygen and acetylene. His plan was to be the hit of the neighborhood by setting off these latex glove bombs later that night. While he was carrying a bunch of exploding latex balloons, a static spark from the rubbing latex made them all explode. A burned chest, some permanent hearing loss, and dislodged kidney stones that he wasn’t even aware of were the price of stupidity that day. If they had ignited in the trunk of his Camaro, which is where he planned to put them, he probably wouldn’t have survived.

Oxy-fuel equipment is dangerous.

Story #1 is understandable, but entirely preventable through the use of known flame cutting safety principles

Story #2 is natural selection in action. There are no excuses. And yet, sometimes I watch YouTube videos of people filling balloons with oxygen and acetylene and I think to myself “Shit, they’re all going to die!”

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July 24, 2023