Storage and Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders
How do I properly store compressed gas cylinders?
Cylinders should be stored in clearly identified locations, as well as in dry, well ventilated areas that aren’t exposed to heat or the sun. These areas should be out of the way of doorways, aisles, elevators, and stairs. There should be “NO SMOKING” signs in the areas. Cylinders should always be stored upright, no matter if they are full or empty, and they should be secured with a chain or non-conductive belt. The protective caps should always be on when in storage and the valves should always be closed. Oxygen and Fuel gas cylinders should be stored separately and should have a wall or barrier that has a minimum of a half-hour fire rating.
What not to do.
Cylinders should never be used as an electrical ground connection. Cylinders shouldn’t be fastened to a work table as they could become part of an electrical circuit. Do not strike an arc on a cylinder. Never use flames or boiling water to thaw a frozen valve, warm water is acceptable. Cylinders should never be placed or stored in unventilated enclosures such as lockers or cupboards. Cylinders should never be used as rollers or supports for anything. Never tamper with the safety devices. Cylinders should only be used to contain gas that the cylinder was designed to hold. Acetylene cylinders can never be in a horizontal position. Never accept a cylinder that is not properly labeled or marked. Do not angle the cylinder and roll to move them. Do not lift a cylinder by the valve cap, nor use rope or chains or lift with electromagnets. Never drag, slide, or drop a cylinder as it could become a missile. A cylinder should never strike another cylinder violently. Never try to refill a cylinder or try to mix gases in the cylinder.
What do I do with empty or unusable cylinders?
The cylinders should be marked empty or unusable. Return empty cylinders to the supplier. When a cylinder is not in use the regulators should be removed and the protective cap should be put on the cylinder. Keep cylinders and fittings from becoming contaminated with oil, grease or dust. A cylinder should always be labeled, and if it is not properly labeled, the cylinder should never be used.
How do I properly move the cylinders?
Always close cylinder valves. Remove regulators and always tighten the cap on the cylinder before moving. When moving a cylinder, always use a trolley and the cylinder should be chained to the trolley before moving the trolley. If there is a leaky cylinder, call the supplier immediately and have them remove the cylinder. When cylinders are being transported by vehicle, they should be secured in an upright position.
When do I “crack” the cylinder?
Before attaching the regulator, clean the valve with a clean cloth. “Cracking” a cylinder refers to opening the valve slightly and closing it quickly to blow out dust or dirt from the valve outlet. Always use two hands when doing this and always stand to the side of the valve. Never stand over, in front, or behind the valve outlet. Never “crack” Fuel gas cylinders as it could ignite from friction, heating, or other ignition sources. Never “crack” hydrogen cylinders since the release of compressed hydrogen may ignite by itself.