SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

A Review of Incidents Involving the Use of High-Pressure Oxygen from 1982 to 1985 in Great Britain


The Health and Safety Executive has recently reviewed fire and explosion incidents involving the use of high-pressure oxygen reported from 1982 to 1985 in Great Britain. This was undertaken as part of the background work for a research project on the ignition and combustion of materials in gaseous oxygen, to be reported elsewhere. The review showed that in the four-year period, a total of 28 incidents occurred, which resulted in 16 people suffering injuries, some of which were serious. These incidents involved the use of oxygen up to full cylinder pressure, but did not include those involving the use of oxy-fuel gas systems such as in welding and flamecutting operations. Illustrative examples of incidents are described and ignition scenarios discussed. Details are given of five incidents in which the equipment involved was examined by HSE's Explosion and Flame Laboratory. The review showed that several incidents occurred each year, that they were often caused by the presence of contaminating materials, and that further research into the methods used to assess the suitability of materials for use with high-pressure oxygen is justified.

Author Information

Dicker, DWG
Magdelen House, Bootle, Merseyside, U.K.
Wharton, RK
Explosion and Flame Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, U.K.
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 318–327
DOI: 10.1520/STP26757S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5055-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0998-8