Gas Equipment Safety

 2018-04-03 09:11 AM by

Safety Bulletin

Oxygen Acetylene Cutting Incident - December 2017

On Dec 11, 2017 a Serious Injury on Duty occurred at a customer. The operator used an Oxy-Fuel cutting set to perform a cutting application to manufacture parts. His equipment exploded and the operator sustained serious 2nd degree burns to his hand.

While the customer made every effort to comply with industry standards and used all safety devices and recognised brands that were available to them at the time of this IOD, the accident still occurred.

This Safety Bulletin is put together to assist us with recognising the safety hazards associated with the use of oxy-fuel gas equipment. It is imperative to know how to identify these hazards, and to recommend the correct safety equipment to our customers.

Photos taken of the incident and equipment used:

It was reported that the operator was cutting a large diameter flange from a plate that would be used for fitment and this was done on a regular basis, as normal.

The operator had to change his angle and used his left hand to do the preparation and cutting when the incident occurred.

How did this accident occur….?

Many would say oil on the glove!

(Operator is Right Handed and no oil residue on glove present)

  • Cutting Torch Leaking

(Leak Detection spray used prior equipment use)

With all parties questioned and with further investigation the results of the incident revealed a serious component failure and breach of industry standards that caused the incident and serious injury to the operator.

This incident could have resulted in far more severe injuries if it had not occurred in an open workshop with proper ventilation, and if his colleagues hadn’t come to his immediate assistance as the incident occurred.

 It was revealed that the following reasons contributed to the incident.

Incident Description: Oxygen Related Fire/Explosion

Incident Area: Glove (Left Hand)

Heat Source: Molten Slag or Spatter from Cutting Process

Oxygen Source: Leaking Quick Release Coupler Probe

Fuel Source: Oxygen Enriched Leather Glove

The above pictures clearly indicate safety issues, including lack of proper training and inspection. Knowledge and application of the required standards could have prevented this incident.

The operator had to extend his reach to cut the metal and this placed strain on the quick coupler probe. The brass probe used on the oxygen hose was worn, and this resulted in oxygen leaking from the quick coupling device. The leaking oxygen stream flowed into the rear glove end - and this resulted in a dangerous oxygen enriched glove that supported an ignition.

The Quick Release Couplers used in the pictures are completely non-compliant with the relevant Gas Equipment, Gas Safety Devices, Hoses and Gas Equipment Fittings Standards. The Probe in the picture is made of brass which is a soft material that wears very quickly. This would have affected the sealing integrity, and thus resulted in a gas leak.

Fully Compliant!                                                   Non-Compliant fittings

The “Brass vs Stainless Steel Fittings” decision makes a huge difference, and costs much more than just the non-conforming versions - but can cost an injury or loss of life. Even equipment loss has a much higher cost than we can imagine.

All relevant ISO Standards and info is available on request from us.


  Industry Standards
Cylinder Regulators SANS 2503 / ISO 2503
Cutting Torches ISO 5172
Gas Hoses SANS 3821 for Oxygen and Acetylene / SANS 1156-2 for LPG
Flashback Arrestors SANS 50730-1 / EN 730-1
Health & Safety Code of Practice SANS 10328