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Compressed Gas Cylinder: Safety, Storage and Handling Toolbox Talk

November 29, 2022

Compressed gases are commonly used in many industries. From air conditioning repair, chemical plants, and even in the hospitality industry.

They come in a variety of forms and can be compressed to different pressures depending on the type of compound that is stored in the cylinder.

When they’re not handled properly, this can lead to serious injury or death. This post will talk about how you can protect yourself from these dangers and stay safe when working with compressed gases.

SAFETY FIRST

Safety is your first priority when it comes to compressed gas safety. There are several different types of accidents that you could be exposed to and they vary based on the type of gas, pressure, temperature and more.

The most common injuries come from breathing in a particular gas you use at work. This can occur when working in unventilated areas or the valves are faulty.

Other common injuries are from fire hazards due to sparks, heat, or electrical connections. This typically happens when the valves don’t function properly and there’s too much leakage which creates an unsafe environment for your employees.

If any accident does occur, call 911 so you can be attended to as soon as possible.

Make sure you have proper documentation, so the company is protected against any future claims. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent so it’s important to keep track of employee exposure situations.

When a cylinder falls, this creates an unsafe situation that can lead to an injury, explosion, and can be fatal. This often occurs when cylinders are not stored properly. It’s important to store cylinders in an upright position, secured and away from combustible objects and ignition sources.

Handling

Compressed gas cylinders must be handled carefully during transportation, use and storage to minimize the chances of their contents escaping. Follow these best practices to assure that you, your coworkers, and your worksite will remain safe.

  • Complete all required training on compressed gas cylinder safety before handling or using compressed gasses.
  • Keep cylinders secured in an upright position, including during use.
  • Do not strike cylinders against other cylinders or surfaces.
  • Do not expose cylinders to electrical circuits, use a cylinder as a ground when welding with electricity, or strike an electrode against a cylinder when striking an arc.
  • Never position cylinders near ignition sources.
  • Never use cylinders for anything other than the intended use. For example, do not use them as rollers or supports.
  • Do not refill cylinders.

Hazard Communication

  • Familiarize yourself with any labels or signage found in storage or work areas or on cylinders that communicates hazards.
  • Assure that cylinders bear proper GHS-compliant labels that identify contents and classify hazards. Do not use cylinders that are not clearly marked with their contents or hazards.

Transportation

Prior to Moving Cylinders

  • Do not move cylinders without proper authorization.
  • Confirm the cylinders’ contents and review the SDSs for handling requirements.
  • Close valves, bleed lines, remove regulators, and replace valve safety caps before moving.
  • Assure that your planned route is clear of obstacles.

While Moving Cylinders

  • Use a cart designed for this purpose.
  • Use a chain to secure them to the cart.
  • Stay on designated pathways.
  • Never lay cylinders on their sides or roll them by hand.

When Lifting cylinders

  • Assure that appropriate lifting attachments are used and cylinders are properly secured.
  • Do not lift cylinders by their caps or with magnets.
  • Do not drop cylinders from any height.
  • Place the cylinder slowly and avoid striking the cylinder against other items.

Storage

  • Keep storage areas cool, dry, well-ventilated, and protected from recognizable hazards.
  • If storing cylinders outdoors, make sure they are properly protected from direct sunlight and extreme hot and cold temperatures as necessary.
  • Limit access to authorized and trained persons.
  • Position storage areas at least 20 feet away from stairs, aisles, elevators, and combustible and flammable materials.
  • Assure that cylinders with incompatible contents (such as oxidizers and flammables) separated by at least 20 feet or an approved fire-resistant barrier.
  • Never store cylinders in in confined spaces.

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