Gas Safety Guidelines for Welders: Best Practices to Prevent Accidents

Gas Safety Guidelines for Welders: Best Practices to Prevent Accidents

Whether part of a DIY project or industrial operations, most welding processes rely on a steady stream of uninterrupted gas.

Highly flammable gases like acetylene are used to fuel torches, while inert gases, such as argon and helium, are commonly used for shielding. These gases are integral to the welding process but come with their fair share of risks.

When industrial gases are stored and used without the proper KnowHow, welders are at greater risk of injury and accidents either through toxic fumes, or sudden fire. 

How can welders prevent such hazards? Here are some practices we recommend.

Store and Handle Cylinders Properly

Gas cylinders should always be protected from physical damage or tampering. Any leaks in cylinders containing compressed gas can, for instance, cause explosions. 

These cylinders must also be kept at a distance from flammable materials. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that all welding workspaces be at least 35 feet from other materials.

In addition, always keep cylinders in an upright position with their protective caps firmly in place. When transporting cylinders, ensure as little movement as possible. All cylinder valves should be closed, and cylinders should never be dragged along the ground. 

Extra gas and oxygen cylinders should be stored separately. 

Protect and Maintain Equipment 

When working with gas pipes, welders should regularly inspect for leaks and replace bad hoses. Once finished with a project, secure all cylinder valves, bleed the lines to relieve pressure from the regulators, keep the hoses neatly coiled, and replace any equipment as necessary.

All equipment, materials, and workspaces must be protected with easy-to-access fire extinguishers.

Always Wear the Right PPE

Welders who work with industrial gas should always have the right personal protective equipment on hand. This includes fire and electricity-resistant clothing, gloves, aprons, earplugs, boots, and an appropriate welding helmet. They must also avoid wearing clothing that could generate sparks, such as pant legs with cuffs. 

Ensure Sufficient Ventilation

Even with respiratory protection, such as dust masks or complex respirators, welding fumes and gases can pose significant threats. Proper ventilation can remove contaminants from a welder’s work area, as well as prevent the accumulation of flammable gases or vapors. If working in a confined space, welders are advised to take advantage of fume extraction systems to eliminate these toxic gases at the source. 

Some General Safety Tips 

  • Ignite flames with a flint lighter
  • Move to the side before opening the valves of the cylinders
  • Open cylinder valves slowly and carefully
  • Open acetylene cylinders only partially, keeping your wrench securely in place – this ensures it can be quickly closed in case of an emergency. 

Forge Forward Safely with nexAir 

nexAir, a leading supplier of industrial gases and welding supplies understands that worker safety is a top priority. Since the 1940s, we have shared our experiences and KnowHow with industries across the Southeast, providing them with the tools and training to keep workers safe. 

Apart from providing the highest quality cylinders, we have a range of protective gear, including eye and face protection, noise protection, respiratory protection, as well as filtration and ventilation systems. Each of our products meets standards set by agencies like OSHA. With our expertise and high regard for safety, we help ensure that welders can Forge Forward safely and risk-free.

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