Originally published 10/3/2017
Mishandled cylinders may rupture violently, release their hazardous contents or become dangerous projectiles. Special precautions are necessary when storing and handling compressed gas cylinders. Carelessness, abuse and complacency can result in a disaster.
Recommendations for cylinder storage:
- Store cylinders in an upright position and secure them to a fixed location, such as a wall or work bench. Secure each cylinder at a point approximately 2/3 of its height.
- Use appropriate material such as chains, plastic coated wire cable or commercially available cylinder straps to secure cylinders. Secure them individually, i.e., one restraint per cylinder.
- Do not store gas cylinders in public hallways, beneath egress stairways or other unprotected areas.
- Do not store cylinders near an actual or potential heat source, or where it will be exposed to weather extremes.
- Segregate the cylinders in hazard classes for storage. At the minimum, oxidizers (such as oxygen) must be separated from flammable gases.
- Isolate empty cylinders from filled cylinders. Do not discard them in the normal trash.
- Do not store cylinders where heavy objects could fall on them.
To transport cylinders:
- Be sure the valve protection cap is in place.
- Do not use the protective valve cap for moving or lifting the cylinder.
- Do not drag, slide or roll the cylinder. Use a cylinder cart or truck to move the cylinder(s).
- Do not drop a cylinder, or permit cylinders to strike each other violently or be handled roughly.
- Never transport a cylinder with the regulator in place.
- Secure the cylinder to the cart or truck during transport.
Before and during use:
- Use only the regulator designed for the material in use.
- Do not grease or oil the regulator or cylinder valves.
- Open the valve slowly and only with the proper regulator in place. Open it all the way.
- Do not leave the valve open when the equipment is not in use – even if the cylinder is empty.
- Keep the cylinder clear of all sparks, flames and electrical circuits.
- Never rely on the color coding to identify the gas. Different manufacturers may use different coding systems.
- Don’t use oxygen in place of compressed air.
- Don’t use copper fittings or tubing on acetylene tanks as an explosion may result.
- Wear appropriate PPE for the hazard potential of the material you are working with.
Most people think the cylinders on their worksite are safe. However, cylinders are safe only if treated properly. Make sure you know how to handle them.