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, hand tight, 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 gage 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.