Compressed gas cylinders are heavy and tricky to move. Do it the wrong way and you could end up with injuries or even fatalities. Mishandling cylinders can lead to hazards such as fire, chemical burns, explosions, or poisoning from escaped gases. Those who work around gas cylinders must know how to handle, store, transport, and dispose of cylinders correctly and in the safest possible way.
Handling and using gas cylinders
Here are some tips for handling and using gas cylinders.
- Provide adequate training for workers who handle gas cylinders. Training should cover all aspects of handling and storing cylinders, plus how to minimise risks in the workplace.
- Before working with gas cylinders, develop a plan that covers possible emergencies and the best ways to deal with them. Then conduct emergency practice drills for anyone working with or near gas cylinders.
- Work out the appropriate equipment necessary to handle and use the cylinders.
- Provide the correct protective equipment for cylinder handling and train staff to use it properly.
- Secure gas cylinders properly whenever you move, use, or store them.
- Use caution when opening cylinder valves – open them slowly.
- Use an inert gas to leak test lines and equipment before use.
- Use pressure-reducing regulators or separate control valves for safely discharging gas from cylinders.
- Keep cylinders away from any heat sources, including furnaces, boilers, heaters, electric welding tools, and red-hot metals.
- Never use a full or empty cylinder as a support structure of any kind.
- Keep cylinder valves clean.
- Check pressure regulators. If faulty, or if a pressure gauge breaks, replace it immediately.
- Don’t try to repair a cylinder or disguise damage to one.
- Don’t mix gases in a cylinder unless you are specifically authorised to do so.
- Don’t transfer gas from one cylinder to another – it can lead to a serious accident.
- Provide the necessary specialised safety equipment, for example safety showers, eyewash stations and fire extinguishers.
Storing gas cylinders
Gas cylinders data sheets provide specific information for the type of compressed gas you are storing. Some general storage tips are:
- Store cylinders in an upright position and ensure valve outlet seals and protection caps are in place.
- Keep cylinders away from high-traffic areas and emergency exits.
- Keep full and empty cylinders separated.
- Monitor the air in any area where gas could escape and accumulate.
- Routinely inspect stored cylinders to check for leakage or other problems.
- Make sure there is adequate access for handling cylinders in your storage areas.
- Restrict general access to storage areas.
- Do not stockpile gas cylinders; just keep the amount you need to use.
- Store cylinders in secure, cool, dry, well-ventilated areas, away from any combustible materials and protected from the weather.
- Use storage cages if possible. Sitecraft stocks a selection of Storemasta storage cages that will keep gas bottles and LPG cylinders stored safely through forklift operations.
For more information, refer to the specific data sheets for your gas cylinders and refer to the Australian Standard for gas cylinders.