Use Compressed Gases Safely

Compressed gases are hazardous because of the high pressure at which they are stored in cylinders and pressure tanks. The compressed gases can be flammable, poisonous, corrosive, or any combination of these.

How can they hurt me?

Mishandling of compressed gases has been responsible for fatalities, serious injuries, and property damage that has amounted to millions of dollars.

Flammable compressed gases:

         Explode if handled roughly or exposed to heat.

         Ignite by heat, sparks, or flames.

         Flash back if vapors travel to a source of ignition.

         Produce irritating or poisonous gas when burning.

Non-flammable compressed gases:

         Explode when in a mixture with fuels.

Health Effects of Compressed Gases

Compressed gases:

         Are harmful if inhaled.

         Have extremely irritating vapors.

         Can cause cryogenic burns to skin and eyes.

         Produces irritating or poisonous gas when burning.

         Causes dizziness, unconsciousness, or suffocation.

Handling compressed gas cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders require careful handling to prevent damage. When handling cylinders:

         Move cylinders (securely fastened, in as near an upright position as possible) on special hand trucks.

         Don't drop or bang cylinders together.

         Don't roll, drag, or slide cylinders and never use cylinders as rollers or supports.

         Don't lift cylinders by their caps.

         Don't use magnets to lift cylinders.

         Cradles or platforms can be used to lift cylinders only if the cylinder was manufactured with lifting attachments.

Compressed Gas Storage

Some general guidelines in storing compressed gas cylinders include:

         Store cylinders in an upright position.

         Storing the cylinders in a safe, dry, well-ventilated place that is clean and free of combustible material.

         Avoiding areas where cylinders can be knocked down or damaged.

         Storing the cylinders in a position that ensures that the safety relief device is always in direct contact with the cylinder's vapor space.

Store oxygen CGCs at least 20 feet from flammables or combustibles, or separate them by a 5 foot, fire-resistant barrier.