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Safety Regulations and Acetylene Gas Tanks

I have been all over the Internet trying to find safety regulations
for using acetylene gas tanks. The US Govt’s OSHA website was not
help, and I was not able to find any details from the South Carolina
(my state) website. As I am trying to help a friend set this up in
her place of business, I need actual legal requirements for
compliance. Does anyone know of a website or source of information
on this?


Hi Dori,

You might check with the dept that issues building permits in the
locality where the tanks will be installed. The fire dept in the
same locality may also have the necessary info. Both these depts
perform inspections of this type of thing.

Many times regulations can vary a little from one locale to another



You may want to talk to your local supplier. They should know the
local code. If they don’t, talk to your local Fire Marshall.

Best of luck,
Pam Farren
newburyport, MA

Your local fire department will assist you, as well as the local
town hall. If it is for a business, talk to your local Chamber of


School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854

The local municipality will be the primary regulations that must be
followed. As for OSHA start here

There is lots there look under pressurized gas cylinders

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts



Try asking your local welding supply house for help. Your supplier
should help you a great deal.

Just being curious-Why acetylene?

Daniel Ballard

Go to your local welding gas supplier, they are technically required
to give you a sheet/s about each of the gases/tanks you are
transporting that have the info about the gas and tanks. It also has
the 800 numbers for emergency crews to call.

This is US transportation Dept/ICC regulations according to my local
supplier. I have a set I leave in the glove box of the truck. If you
are transporting compressed gas tanks you are suppose to have them.

As for local requirements, I also would check with the local gas
supplier first. Then once you have an idea about them. If it is a
commerical type biz. you will have to dealer with a host of
inspections before opening. So You can contact the code office for
your location. Be perpared for a possible fight/dissagarement with
the fire dept. On the suitability of the building,the space or the
location of what is next or close to if located in a strip of
stores. As evey local is different, the most common sense safety
items will apply changed to a solid wall or tanks rack that can’t
tip over in general use, combustable material in area, a good fire

haven’t been there, never want to have to do that!

I don’t believe there are specific regulations regarding acetylene
per se. Your local Fire Marshall would be able check your compliance
with fire code as it relates to storage of compressed gas tanks,
which, I think is the crucial factor here.

I have been all over the Internet trying to find safety
regulations for using acetylene gas tanks. 

The website is The publication you want is: NFPA 55:
Standard for the Storage, Use, and Handling of Compressed Gases and
Cryogenic Fluids in Portable and Stationary Containers, Cylinders,
and Tanks

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL

All compressed gas tanks must be secured, either with a chain or
bracket of some sort. Or if in a cart, again chained. This is to
prevent the tanks from falling over and the valves breaking. Fire
extingishers must be close by, mounted on your cart is the

Best regards,
Chris Gravenor

Most jurisdictions in north America use the NFPA standards for the
purposes of defining the fire and safety codes. I am not an expert
in the field but I think this is the document you are looking for.

For more info on code 51 2002 revision go to

Using detailed schematic drawings showing different system layouts,
NFPA 51 provides fire safety requirements for gas-fueled systems for
cutting, welding, and other similar processes.

Standard 51 covers:

  • Cylinder storage
  • System Manifolding and piping
  • Associated protective equipment such as regulators

Also provided are requirements for the use of acetylene generators,
calcium carbide storage for acetylene generators*, and mobile
acetylene trailer systems.

The 2002 edition features clarified text, such the application of
requirements to different size single fuel gas cylinder systems.
(Approx. 20 pp., 2002)

Another document NFPA 51B - Standard for Fire Prevention during
Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work is not worth looking into in my
opinion as it is aimed at the use of welding equipment and fire
watches in the industrial and building sectors.

In general the NFPA standards are the most conservative approach and
often what gets adopted locally is either straight from their
standard or a watered down version because of lobbying by special
interest groups.

/editorial mode on/

As an example for well over 50 years NFPA has called for sprinklers
in all high rise occupancies, however in most cities builders and
developers have led successful fights against them based on the cost,
even though it is provable from an engineering and statistical point
of view that properly designed, installed and maintained sprinkler
systems are effective in preventing loss of life and property,
fortunately the tide is changing and they are increasingly being

/editorial mode off/


OK Daniel, so why not acetylene? It seems to be the gas of choice in
teaching/learning venues and the gas that all beginners learn to
use. I’ve dug into this subject LOTS and still have no conclusive
answers. Those who have used ace exclusively say why change a good
thing. Any feedback would be most appreciated. I want what’s safest
and accomplishes my current needs as well as those that I will
attempt as I gain confidence, i.e. gold. Currently I work in silver
and a tiny amount of gold, mainly for embellishment. I want the
ability to anneal sheets of metal (silver,copper and gold) as large
as 3" x 6". I want the ability to melt small amounts of silver for
cuttlebone casting and fusing, and general soldering and ease of use.
I currently have a Smith little torch which I thought I would use
for oxy/propane. Already have natural gas coming into my house and my
current thinking is to spring for the G Tec,$1,000, item and go with
Nat gas. Poor Little Torch is still in the box not knowing what it’s
owner wants to do with it. Also, I have an underutilized basement
studio with plenty of ventilation. I want to move forward but still
receiving too much conflicting advice. Please, please help.

Cyndy, the conflicted metalsmith

Dear Dori:

These safety regulations, unless a historic site or business are
usually considered a state and local matter. They will vary from
location to location for very good reasons. So there are only
federal guidelines. OSHA has considerable input with businesses. A
quick call to the local Fire Department, a discussion with the Fire
Marshall for your location will put you on the right track and help
you to cover all the details. The local Fire Marshall should be
considered a valuable resource to getthings right, not a person to
fear or be concerned with. Also make sure you clear this installation
with the insurance firm handling this building. We do a great deal of
this type of work, indistrial applicatons, installations in historic
buildings, office buildings, apartments, or higher risk areas. Best
Regards, Gary

Gary W. Miller
Sr. Technical Advisor
35 Bronson Road
Stratford, CT 06614-3654 U. S. A.


I’m using acetylene since coming in America in 1971. I have two
Smith little torch and still using and loving it. Four years ago I
decided to fabricate Platimun and the Platinum Man Jurgen J. Maerz
recomended to used propane, I’m using now much cleaner no black
smoke.Visit my web-site The platinum pendant I made.