Compressed Gas Cylinders Handling

1. Before cylinders are first used the following precautions should be taken:

• Make sure the cylinder is equipped with the correct regulator.

• Inspect the regulator and cylinder valves for grease, oil, dirt, and solvent. Never use grease or oil to lubricate regulators or cylinder valves because they can cause an explosion.

• The cylinder should be placed so that the valve handle at the top is easily accessible.

• When using toxic or irritating gas, the valve should only be opened while the cylinder is in a working fume hood.

• Only use wrenches or tools that are provided by the cylinder supplier to open or close a valve. Pliers should never be used to open a cylinder valve. Some regulators require washers; this should be checked before the regulator is fitted.

• Refer to Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the gas being used for information regarding use and toxicity.

• Fire extinguishing equipment should be readily available when combustible materials can be exposed to welding or cutting operations using compressed cylinder gases.

compressed gas tank

2. Cylinder Storage

Gas cylinders must be secured at all times to prevent tipping. Use appropriate material, such as chain, plastic coated wire cable, commercial straps, etc., to secure cylinders. Gas cylinders can not be stored in public hallways or other unprotected areas. Cylinders must be segregated in hazard classes while in storage. Oxidizers (oxygen) must be separated from flammable gases, and empty cylinders must be isolated from filled cylinders. The proper storage for oxygen cylinders requires that a minimum of 20 feet is maintained between flammable gas cylinders and oxygen cylinders or the storage area be separated, at a minimum, by a firewall five (5) feet high with a fire rating of 30 minutes. All items listed here should be covered in compressed gas cylinder training.

3. Moving Cylinders

• Never drag, slide or roll a cylinder; use a cylinder cart or basket.

• Always have the protective cap covering the valve when transporting the cylinder.

• Never transport the cylinder with the regulator in place.

• Make sure the cylinder is secured to the cart before moving it.

• Do not drop cylinders or strike them against each other or against other surfaces violently.

• Do not use the valve cover to lift cylinders; they could be damaged and become unattached. If the cylinder is dropped on a hard surface it can cause an explosion.

4. Use and Operation

• Only properly compressed gas cylinder training personal should handle compressed gas cylinders.

• Back off the pressure adjusting screw of the regulator to release spring force before opening the cylinder valve.

• Open the valve slowly and only with the proper regulator in place. Stand with the cylinder between yourself and the regulator (cylinder valve outlet facing away) when opening the cylinder valve.

• Acetylene or other flammable gas cylinder valves should not be opened more than 1⁄2 turns of the spindle, and preferably no more than 3⁄4 of a turn. This reduces the risk of explosion and allows for the cylinder valve to be closed quickly to cut off the gas flow.

• Never heat a cylinder to raise the pressure of the gas (this can defeat the safety mechanisms built in by the supplier).

• Keep the cylinder clear of all electrical circuits, flame, and sparks.

• Never leave the valve open when equipment is not in use, even when empty; air and moisture may diffuse through an open valve, causing contamination and corrosion within the cylinder.

• Do not refill a cylinder, mixing of residual gases in a confined area may cause a dangerous reaction.

• Never use copper fittings or tubing on acetylene tanks – an explosion may result.

• Never use compressed gas to dust off clothing, this could cause injury to the eyes or body and create a fire hazard. Clothing can become saturated and burst into flames if touched off by an ignition source such as a spark or cigarette.

• Never leave pressure in a regulator when it is not in use.

• Valve protection caps should remain in place until ready to withdraw gas, or connect to a manifold.

• Cylinder discharge lines should be equipped with approved check valves to prevent inadvertent contamination of cylinders connected to a closed system.

• Do not force connections that do not fit.

• Close the cylinder valve and release all pressure before removing the regulator from the cylinder.

• Do not smoke when oxygen or fuel gases are present. Smoking can cause a fire or explosion.


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