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.
Any cylinders should have their caps on, and fuel gas cylinders, either filled or empty, should have the valve closed.
Care should 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.
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.
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.
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).
When cylinders are empty they should be marked empty and the valves must be closed to prohibit contamination from entering.
When fuel gas cylinders are in use a regulator is attached and the cylinder should be secured to prevent falling by means of chains or clamps.
Cylinders for portable apparatuses should be securely mounted in specially designed cylinder trucks.
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.
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