Use & Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders of all shapes and sizes are used all over campus for everything from welding to research. There are two types of hazards associated with the use, storage and handling of compressed gas cylinders: the chemical hazard associated with the cylinder contents (corrosive, toxic, flammable, etc.) and the physical hazards represented by the presence of a high pressure vessel in the laboratory.

Some cylinders can be pressurized up to 2,200 pounds per square inch (psi). If the cylinder is improperly secured and falls so that the valve is damaged, it can release all that pressure very suddenly through a hole no bigger than a pencil. This creates a very dangerous and destructive missile.

The Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) has revised the policy on the use and storage of compressed gas cylinders to be effective on May 31, 2005 . The new policy does not permit vendors or UAB Shipping and Receiving to leave a cylinder in an area that does not have the proper securing device. This can be a wall fixture with a chain or strap, or a bench-top clamp with a chain or strap. Arrangements are being made for Shipping and Receiving to have the bench-top device available at the time a tank is delivered, however, the cost of the device is the responsibility of the laboratory or department ordering the compressed gas.

View the revised policy, or call OH&S at 934-2487 for a copy or if you have any questions. The entire General Health and Safety Management Program Policies and Manual can be downloaded here.