Safety Tips for Storing and Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders
Compressed gases are crucial for your welding needs, but without proper storage and handling procedures they can be highly dangerous. Mishandling and improper storage of these cylinders can lead to toxic fumes, flammable gases and even explosions.
Proper storage and handling procedures are necessary to ensure the safety of welders using these gases. Thankfully, with some awareness and procedures in place, you will be able to work safely with compressed gases by significantly mitigating the risks involved.
To help ensure that you work safely with compressed gas, Simcoe Gases has created this blog that will give you some tips on how to safely handle and store compressed gas cylinders. Before we get into that, however, let’s first take a look at some of the risks associated with compressed gas.
What are the risks of compressed gas?
When properly controlled, the release of compressed gases from cylinders is a routine and safe event. However, the pressure inside these cylinders becomes hazardous when leaks or improper release occur.
Compressed gases can be toxic, corrosive, flammable, oxidizing or inert. Inter gases can quickly displace air in a large area, flammable gases can lead to exploding cylinders and toxic gases can create a poisonous environment.
Due to these hazards, it’s crucial that you properly store and handle compressed gases. Here are some safety tips from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to help:
How to properly store your compressed gas cylinders
Check your fire code for guidelines regarding the storage of flammable gas cylinders.
Store cylinders in a clearly identified, dry, well-ventilated storage area that is not exposed to heat or the direct rays of the sun, and away from doorways, aisles, elevators, and stairs.
Post "no smoking" signs in the area.
Store cylinders, both empty and full, in the upright position and secure with an insulated chain or non-conductive belt.
During storage, close the cylinder valves with the protective caps in place.
With outside storage, place on a fireproof surface and enclose in a tamper-proof enclosure.
Protect cylinders from contact with ground, ice, snow, water, salt, corrosion, and high temperatures.
Protect cylinders from falling. Use a chain or adequate support system. Consider securing each cylinder separately to prevent other cylinders from falling when items are removed from storage.
Store oxygen cylinders and fuel gas cylinders separately. Indoors, separate oxygen from fuel gas cylinders by at least 6.1 m (20 ft), or by a wall at least 1.5 m (5 ft) high with a minimum half-hour fire resistance. (From: CSA W117.2-12 (R-2017) "Safety in welding, cutting and allied processes". Local jurisdiction requirements may vary.)
Cylinders must also be separated away from flammable and combustible liquids and from materials that easily ignite (such as wood, paper, oil, grease, etc.) by similar requirements as oxygen cylinders (6.1 m, or a fire wall at least 1.5 m high with ½ hr fire resistance).
Installation of air quality monitors is highly recommended and can be supplied by Simcoe Gases.
How to move your compressed gas cylinders
Close cylinder valves by removing the regulator and replacing the valve protection cap and hand tight.
Move cylinders with appropriate trolleys and secure the cylinders in an upright position.
User proper lifting cradles or a suitable platform when hoisting cylinders by a crane, derrick, or other hoisting mechanism.
Call your supplier to remove leaky cylinders immediately.
Secure cylinders in an upright position when cylinders are transported by motor vehicle.
What to do with your empty or out of service cylinders
Mark or label them as "empty cylinder" and store empty cylinders away from full cylinders.
Return empties to the supplier.
Remove regulators when not in use and store these away from grease and oil. Put protective caps on the fittings when in storage.
Keep cylinders and fittings from becoming contaminated with oil, grease or dust.
Do not use a cylinder that is not identified or if the label is not legible. The colours of industrial gas cylinders are not standardized.
Do you have any further questions about how to safely handle and store compressed gases? Contact Simcoe Gases today. We are a leading provider of industrial gas products, supplies and services in Central Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. Our team of experts would be more than happy to answer any compressed gas safety questions that you may have.