Take care with oxygen cylinders

The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a free advisory
leaflet "Take care with Oxygen - Fire and explosion hazards in the use of

Minimum safety standards for the use, inspection and maintenance of oxy-fuel
gas welding, cutting and heating equipment incorporating individual portable or
mobile cylinder gas supplies are given. It is for anyone who uses oxygen gas in
cylinders. Pure oxygen, at high pressure, such as from a cylinder, can react
violently with common materials like oil and grease. Other materials may catch
fire spontaneously. Nearly all materials including textiles, rubber and even
metals, will burn vigorously in oxygen.

The leaflet summarizes the advice in five do's and don'ts:

  1. Be aware of the dangers of oxygen - if in doubt, ask.
  2. Prevent oxygen enrichment by ensuring that equipment is leak-tight and in
    good working order.
  3. Check that ventilation is adequate.
  4. Always use oxygen cylinders and equipment carefully and correctly.
  5. Always open oxygen cylinder valves slowly.

  1. Do not smoke where oxygen is being used.
  2. Never use replacement parts which have not been specifically approved for
    oxygen service.
  3. Never use oxygen equipment above the pressures certified by the
  4. Never use oil or grease to lubricate oxygen equipment.
  5. Never use oxygen in equipment which is not designed for oxygen

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)