National trade body, the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA), is urging the welding industry to be aware of the importance of using flashback arrestors on oxy-acetylene sets.

The use of the equipment became a mandatory requirement in the Acetylene Safety Regulations in 2014. Now, the BCGA is calling on operators and their employers to be mindful of the vital safety role they play in protecting against flashbacks.  

Doug Thornton, Chief Executive of BCGA, said, “Flashbacks – where the flame goes back down the line into the cylinder itself – can occur when operating oxy-fuel equipment, due to operator error and faulty equipment.”  

He continued, “Acetylene cylinders are designed to be able to withstand and will snuff out a few flashbacks. However, multiple repeated flashbacks can eventually give rise to exothermic decomposition of the acetylene, which ultimately can lead damage or destruction of equipment and even a catastrophic failure of the cylinder.”  

While flashback arrestors play a vital role in safety, the BCGA says they need to be considered as part of the bigger picture in welding safety.  

Thornton added, “Flashback arrestors prevent flames going back into the cylinder, provided they are of the correct design and quality. However, they are an extra precaution, required by law, and not a substitute for good operation, proper training and well-maintained equipment.”  

In line with its focus on ‘Mission Safety,’ the BCGA is at the forefront in providing information and support for the welding industry, to drive forward improvements in this area. This includes a dedicated online area, ‘Welding Matters,’ on the BCGA website, which signposts viewers to initiatives and guidance, including free to download documents offering a wide-range of content.

industrial worker at the factory welding