High pressure gas cylinders are designed to store industrial gases such as nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. These compressed gas cylinders are regularly used in a variety of industries and cylinder handling can be a daily task. While these compressed gas cylinders are sturdy, it is always important to handle them safely. Below are five helpful tips for safe, compressed gas cylinder handling.
#1: Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment, which is commonly referred to as PPE, is clothing or products designed to create a barrier that keeps workers safe from injury or illness when handling or working near hazardous materials. All PPE should be well-fitted and comfortable to wear to ensure maximum protection. When handling compressed gas cylinders, please consider the following: eye/face protection, respiratory protection, and hand/foot protection. Eye and face protection are recommended whenever working with or filling cylinders – this protects you from any blowback during the filling process. Adequate protection includes face shields, goggles, and welding helmets. Regular safety glasses are not impact resistant and do not provide enough protection.
Respiratory protection keeps workers safe from inhaling chemical vapors and toxic gases. The best respiratory protection is either a respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus. Hands and arms should be protected by wearing long, heavyweight gloves. Driving gloves are an excellent choice. Also depending on the gas or if filling a liquid dewar, cold insulating gloves might be needed. Cylinders are heavy and their shape makes them prone to tipping, so steel-toed or similar boots should be worn for adequate foot protection.
#2: Nest Cylinders
Always keep cylinders nested, especially gases like Acetylene, as its components should not be mixed. Oxygen cylinders should be kept at a minimum of 25 feet away from fuel-gas cylinders, such as acetylene or hydrogen, or separated by a non-combustible barrier, such as a wall that is at least 5 feet high with a fire resistance rating of at least one-half hour.
#3: Inspect Cylinders Regularly
Cylinders are hazardous when exposed to damage from anything that can cause weakness or a crack in the cylinder wall or shell. Such damage can cause the cylinder to rupture. It’s important to regularly check for any visible damage, such as corrosion or dents. It should also be a priority to ensure valves are in good condition. Many compressed gas cylinders are stored at extremely high pressures and if valves are damaged, cylinders can become a forceful projectile.
#4: Test Cylinders Regularly
Hydrostatic testing is an essential part of quality control and is the industry standard for most testing. Most cylinders will also meet industry standard for quality control when tested using ultrasonic equipment. These tests are performed to determine the safety and structural integrity of a variety of objects, including gas cylinders. The testing ensures that the object can withstand liquid pressure without rupturing or leaking and provides confidence that the object can endure exposure to corrosive environments without weakening. To ensure safety and accuracy, it’s important that testing is completed by experienced professionals. Inaccurate assessments can lead to costly repairs and expose your employees to unnecessary risk.
#5: Dispose of Cylinders Properly
Compressed gas cylinders should not be placed in regular trash or recycling dumpsters, unless specifically instructed by the county or city authorities. Correctly disposing of a gas cylinder is extremely important for worker safety and for the environment. Correct disposal reduces your company’s liability and helps you stay in compliance.
You can dispose of gas cylinders by following the steps below:
Damaged cylinders are not typically accepted for disposal by most facilities. In the case of a damaged valve or leaking cylinder, a special disposal facility should be contacted to safely transfer the unit.
Cylinder Services at Rocky Mountain Air
Rocky Mountain Air provides compressed gas cylinders for a variety of gases. We test cylinders both hydrostatically and ultrasonically and offer repairs on-site at our Salt Lake City and Denver locations. At our Denver location, we work with other local cylinder testing companies that are DOT compliant. Through RMA, all types of cylinders and tanks can be hydrotested, including medical, beverage, SCBA, SCUBA, welding, paintball, aviation, refrigeration cylinders and fire extinguishers. We are also a supplier of safety equipment which includes the equipment to bolt cylinders to walls for safe storage and PPE. At RMA, we highly value your safety and strive to provide flawless dependability. If you have any questions regarding our services or cylinder safety, please contact your local branch (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska) today!