Gas can be used for a number of purposes, including welding, heating, cutting, straightening or descaling. Commercial gas equipment is extremely versatile and portable, as well as being very affordable. In fact, it's so commonly used that people sometimes forget about the dangers that can be posed when using gas. Lots of people receive injuries or die each year due to wrong or careless use of gas equipment, and one of the major risks of using gas equipment is fire.
Tips for reducing fire risks when using gas equipment
The flames from gas torches can be an extremely powerful source of ignition and careless use has been the cause of many fires. The flame from the gas torch will quickly ignite any combustible materials nearby like paper, wood, cardboard, rubber, plastics or textiles. Many commercial processes will also generate sparks or hot spatter which can also cause fires.
The following tips could help prevent a fire when you use commercial gas torches and equipment:
- work in a safe location, where hot work can be carried out with ease
- move any combustible materials that are close to your working area, like flammable liquids, paper, wood, cardboard, etc
- if it's not possible to move combustible material away from your working area, use guards or covers like metal sheeting or fibre boards to protect it
- when welding or cutting for long periods of time, check that nearby walls or partitions don't contain combustible materials. A lot of wall panels are fitted with polystyrene or similar insulation which is extremely flammable
- in work locations where the consequence of any potential fire would be severe, you should appoint a fire watch to keep an eye on the area throughout work and also for about half an hour after the work is complete
- ensure heat, flame and sparks don't land on gas hoses
- keep a fire extinguisher close to the area you are working
Other potential hazards caused by use of commercial gas equipment
Some added hazards that could occur when gas equipment is used include:
- explosions if tanks or drums are being cut up or repaired, as they may still hold residues of flammable material
- fires or explosions as a result of gas leaks, flashbacks or backfires
- fumes created by flame cutting can affect your health
- burns as a result of incorrect use of oxygen
- burns caused by contact with hot metals or flames
- impact injuries or crush injuries while gas cylinders are being transported and handled
You can find out more about the safe use of commercial gas equipment on the Health and Safety Executive website (insert link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg297.pdf).
London Gases supply calor gas to businesses throughout the London area. Get in touch with us to discuss ways you could save money on your regular gas purchases.