What Does Oxygen (O2) Mean?
Oxygen, in the context of occupational health and safety, is a chemical element found in nature. It has no smell, taste or color and makes up 21 percent of the air we breathe. It is also used for various processes, such as in the production of acids, steel, iron, polyester, polymers and antifreeze. Oxygen is also used for cutting, welding and melting metals.
In the workplace, the air must contain a certain level of oxygen (between 19.5 and 23.5 percent according to OSHA) in order to be considered safe for workers. Oxygen can also react with combustible and reducing materials, creating a fire and explosion hazard.