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Compressed gas cylinders of all shapes and sizes are used all over campus for everything from welding to research. Compressed gas cylinders pose two types of risks when used, stored, or handled. The first is a chemical risk, which is related to the nature of the gas inside the cylinder. This gas could be corrosive, toxic, flammable, and so on. The second risk is physical, which comes from having a high-pressure container in a lab setting.

Some cylinders can be pressurized up to 2,200 pounds per square inch (psi). If the cylinder is not secured in proper fashion 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 Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) has revised the guideline on the use and storage of compressed gas cylinders. The guideline 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.
All cryogenic liquids are gases at normal temperatures and pressures. Different cryogens become liquids under different conditions of temperature and pressure, but all have two properties in common: they are extremely cold, and small amounts of liquid can expand into very large volumes of gas. All who works with cryogenic liquids must be aware of their hazards and know how to work with them in a safe manner. Ensure that cryogenic liquids are stored and handled properly in your lab.
Call EH&S at 205-934-2487 for a copy of these guidelines or if you have any questions. The entire General Health and Safety Management Program Policies and Manuals are found here.