Gas Cylinder Storage and Handling
Hundreds of different materials are packaged in compressed gas cylinders - atmospheric gases, fuel gases, refrigerant gases, poison gases, etc. The hazards associated with these gases include oxygen displacement, explosion hazards, toxic effects and the physical hazards of a ruptured cylinder. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) references general requirements for compressed gases in 29 CFR 1910.101.
Per 29 CFR 1910.101(a) employers must inspect the cylinders to ensure that they are in a "safe condition".
Visual and other inspections must be conducted as described in the Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous materials regulations (49 CFR 171 - 179).
Where the DOT regulations are not applicable, visual and other inspections must be conducted as prescribed in the Compressed Gas Association's C-6 standards for visual inspection of steel compressed gas cylinders and C-8 standard for requalification of DOT-3HT, CTC-3HT and TC-3HTM seamless steel cylinders pamphlets.
Per 29 CFR 1910.101(b), the in-plant handling, storage and utilization of all compressed gas cylinders must be in accordance with CGA Pamphlet P-1 Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders.
Gas cylinders should be properly secured at all times to prevent tipping, falling or rolling. They can be secured with straps or chains connected to a wall bracket or other fixed surface, or by use of a cylinder stand.
The gas cylinders should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated, fire-resistant area that meets all applicable federal, state and local regulations.
When a gas cylinder is empy or not being used, ensure that the valve is closed, the regulator removed and that the valve protector cap is secured in place.
Gas cylinders should be transported using hand trucks designed for that purpose and the cylinders should be secured so that they do not tip, fall or roll.
Appropriate lifting devices, such as cradles or nets must be used when using a crane, hoist or derrick to transport gas cylinders. Do not use magnets or slings to lift gas cylinders. Do not use the valve protection cap for lifting a gas cylinder.
It is necessary to take precautions so that gas cylinders are not dropped or allowed to strike each other or other objects. Dropping or striking may damage the gas cylinder valve, which could turn the gas cylinder into a dangerous torpedo with the potential to destroy property and/or injure personnel.
Consult the appropriate material safety data sheet (MSDS) for detailed information on the chemical contained in the gas cylinder. Specific chemical handling and storage precautions will be outlined in the MSDS. The MSDS will also have specifications for appropriate personal protective equipment for worker protection.
Compressed Gas Association
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The content in this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific compliance questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.
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