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.