AIr Products Safetygram 10 Handling, storage, and use of compressed gas cylinders (Safetygram / White Paper)
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Handling, storage, and use of
compressed gas cylinders
Air Products would like to ensure the safe handling of our products. As our customer, you need to share in the
responsibility for safe handling, storage, and use of our products.
Follow these seven general safety recommendations:
1. Know and understand the properties, uses, and safety precautions before
using any gas or gas mixture. Consult the Air Products Safety Data Sheet
(SDS) and Safetygrams for safety information on the gases and
equipment you will be using.
2. Determine the appropriate equipment required to use the product and
know how to safely operate the equipment.
3. Be aware of potential hazards and develop plans to cover possible
emergencies. Use emergency drills to practice implementing these plans.
Inform local hospitals, fire departments, and other emergency response
organizations of the gases in use so that they, too, will be prepared in the
event of an emergency.
4. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and the required training for
its use. Require personnel to wear the proper PPE for each task. Locate other
safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, and showers
at appropriate locations. Thoroughly inform everyone about the hazards of
the gases they are using and how to respond to an emergency.
5. Follow all national, state, and local regulations pertaining to the storage,
use, and disposal of compressed gases and cryogenic liquids. This
document highlights the recommendations set forth in ISO Standard
11625, “Gas Cylinders—Safe Handling.” In the United States, this document is
published by the Compressed Gas Association as Pamphlet P-1, “Safe
Handling of Compressed Gases in Containers,” and has been incorporated
into the regulations, making the contents of the document legal
requirements in the United States, not recommendations. Other regional
organizations such as the Asian Industrial Gases Association (AIGA),
the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), and the National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) also provide guidance for the storage and use
of compressed gas cylinders.
6. If you are unfamiliar with the hazards associated with a particular gas,
contact your supplier for additional information.
7. Use appropriate equipment when handling portable cylinder banks. They
have a high center of gravity, and extreme care must be taken during their
movement. Portable banks may fall over when being moved if they are
stopped suddenly by an object or crack in the floor.
Compressed gas cylinders should be handled only by those familiar with the
hazards and who are trained in the proper handling techniques. Cylinders
containing compressed gases are heavy and awkward to move. Improper handling of compressed gas cylinders can result in sprains, strains, falls, bruises, or
broken bones. Other hazards such as fire, explosion, chemical burns, poisoning,
and cold burns could occur if gases accidentally escape from the cylinder due to
mishandling. Take the following precautions to prevent injuries caused by the
improper handling of compressed gas cylinders.
• Drag or slide cylinders, even for short distances.
• Drop cylinders or permit them to strike each other violently.
• Subject cylinders to mechanical shocks that may cause damage to their
• Use cylinders as rollers for moving material or other equipment.
• Tamper with pressure-relief devices.
• Permit oil, grease, or other readily combustible substances to come in contact
with cylinders, valves, or other equipment in oxidizer service.
• Remove any product labels or shipping hazard labels.
• Refill compressed gas cylinders. This is to be done only by qualified producers
of compressed gases.
• Lift a cylinder by its cap using a sling or a magnet.
• Attempt to catch a falling cylinder.
• Move cylinders using a suitable hand truck or cart. (refer to figure 1)
• Leave the valve protection cap and valve seal outlet in place until the
cylinder has been secured in place and is ready to be used.
• Secure cylinders when in storage, transit, or use.
• When returning cylinders to the supplier, properly close the cylinder valve,
replace and secure any valve outlet seals, and properly install the cylinder
• Use a cylinder cage or cradle to lift a cylinder.
• Use the proper PPE for cylinder
handling. Wear safety glasses
with sideshields, leather gloves,
safety shoes, and other appropriate
• Use extreme care and restrict the
movement of portable banks to
localize movement on clean,
smooth, level stationary surfaces.
• Use two people for localized manual
movement of a portable bank. Stay
out of the bank’s travel path. Also, be
aware of escape routes should the
bank get out of control or start
falling. If a smooth, level surface
is not available over which to move
the portable bank, use a forklift,
crane, or other appropriate moving
Figure 1: Typical Cylinder Hand
Take the following precautions to
prevent injuries caused by asphyxiation, fire, explosion, high pressure, and
improper handling of compressed gas
• Allow storage temperature to
exceed 125°F (52°C).
• Permit smoking or open flames
in oxidizer or flammable gas
• Expose cylinders to corrosive
materials such as ice melting
• Store cylinders in accordance with
ISO Standard 11625 or CGA
• Store cylinders upright with valve
outlet seals and valve protection
caps in place. See Air Products’
Safetygram-14, “Don’t Turn a
Cylinder Into a Rocket.”
• Secure cylinders when in storage,
transit, or use.
• Store cylinders in areas designated
for that purpose.
• Segregate full and empty cylinders.
• Store cylinders in a dry, cool, well ventilated, secure area protected
from the weather and away from
• Ensure that there is adequate
separation from combustibles as
specified by national regulations.
• Monitor the atmosphere in areas
where gases may vent and collect.
• Use a first-in, first-out (FIFO)
inventory system to prevent full
containers from being stored for
long periods of time.
• Store only the amount of
compressed gas required for the
Figure 2: The Correct Way to Safely
Check a System
• Store cylinders away from heavily
traveled areas and emergency exits.
• Provide adequate access for
• Visually inspect stored cylinders on
a routine basis, or at least weekly,
for any indication of leakage or
• Restrict access to cylinder storage
• Protect cylinders from wet or damp
Proper use of compressed
Take the following precautions to prevent injuries caused by the improper
use of compressed gases.
• Attempt to mix gases in a cylinder.
• Insert an object (e.g., wrench, screw
driver, etc.) into valve cap openings
to remove a stuck cylinder cap.
Doing so may damage or open the
valve, causing a leak to occur. Use
an adjustable strap wrench to
remove over-tight or rusted caps.
• Use cylinder color as a primary
means to identify the contents of a
• Heat a cylinder to increase its
pressure or withdrawal rate unless
using an approved method. See
Air Products’ Safetygram-30,
“Handling of Liquefied Compressed
• Discharge the contents from any
gas cylinder directly toward any
• Refill any nonrefillable cylinder
after use of the original contents.
• Force cylinder valve connections
that do not fit.
• Reduce the residual pressure of a
cylinder below the operating
pressure of the system or 7 psig
(0.5 bar), whichever is higher.
• Allow any part of a cylinder to be
exposed to temperatures exceeding
• Change service of equipment from
the particular gas or group of gases
• Permit cylinders to become part of for which they were intended.
an electrical circuit.
• Use oxygen as a substitute for
• Strike an arc on a cylinder.
• Return product into a cylinder.
• Introduce another product into a
• Use a mechanical adapter to
connect to the cylinder valve.
• Know and understand the gases
and associated equipment you will
be using. Refer to the supplier’s
MSDS to determine the proper PPE
and any other special requirements
for the gas being used.
• Secure cylinders when in storage,
transit, or use.
• Use a pressure-reducing
regulator or separate control valve
to safely discharge gas from a
• Discontinue use and contact the
supplier if a cylinder valve is
difficult to operate. Wrenches
should not be used on valves
equipped with handwheels. If the
valve is faulty, tag the cylinder,
identifying the problem, and notify
Emergency Response System
• Close the cylinder valve and release
all pressure from the downstream
equipment connected to the
cylinder anytime an extended non-
use period is anticipated.
T 800-752-1597 (U.S.)
T +1-610-481-8565 (other locations)
Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST
(Continental U.S. and Puerto Rico)
T +1-610-481-7711 (other locations)
For regional ER telephone numbers, please
refer to the local SDS 24 hours a day,
7 days a week for assistance involving
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. products
Technical Information Center
• Use oxygen-compatible threading For more information, please contact
compounds, such as Teflon® tape on us at:
systems for use in oxygen or
• Leak-test lines and equipment with
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
an inert gas before using.
7201 Hamilton Boulevard
• Remember, the cylinder label or
Allentown, PA 18195-1501
decal is the only positive way to
• Use regulators and pressure-relief
identify the contents of a cylinder.
devices when connecting cylinders
For regional contact information,
refer to the local SDS or contact your
to piping circuits with lower
More information on gas hanlocal sales representative.
pressure service ratings.
dling is provided in Air Products’
Safetygram-12, “Regulator Selection,
• Use check valves to prevent reverse
Installation, and Operation.”
flow into the cylinder.
• Use regulators approved for the
• Loosen the valve outlet seal slowly
when preparing to connect a
• Open cylinder valves slowly and
carefully after the cylinder has been
connected to the process.
• Stand clear of the regulator and
valve outlet while opening the
• Prevent sparks and flames from
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© Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., 2015 (36223) 900-13-112-US