Compressed gas cylinders are a common feature in many workplaces, particularly industrial and medical environments. However if they are mishandled or stored incorrectly, gas cylinders can present a major health and safety hazard in the workplace. To aid workplace safety, we have drafted a list of 5 key ways to ensure safe gas cylinder storage in the workplace.
Only trained personnel who fully understand the importance of handling and storing gas cylinders safely and correctly should be permitted to enter a gas cylinder storage area. Your gas cylinder storage unit/area is best located away from busy paths or “high traffic” areas on the premises and well away from any customer contact areas.
Handle Cylinders Carefully
Gas cylinders are quite heavy even when unfilled and should they discharge can cause serious harm. Ensure that all staff members handle gas cylinders carefully and use protective gloves and footwear when carrying them. They should never be dropped, thrown, rolled or mishandled in any way. Large gas cylinders should only be moved using a trolley or lift.
Ensure Gas Cylinder Storage Area is Ventilated
Ensure that your gas cylinder storage area, be it a cage, store or even a cellar environment, is a cool, dry, well ventilated area. Ventilation is necessary to ensure that unexpected releases of toxic or flammable gases are not trapped within the unit as this can lead to hazardous consequences. Poor ventilation is one of the key causes of gas cylinder accidents. Where possible, all gas cylinders should be stored outdoors in a secure, weatherproof, well ventilated, gas cylinder store or cage.
Safely Position the Cylinders
All gas cylinders, used and unused, should be stored upright and secured safely, usually with a chain. Gas cylinders should be positioned away from contact with sunlight and away from any direct heat source. Gas cylinders should never be positioned on uneven floors as doing so presents a likelihood that they can fall over and combust. Ensure that cylinders are positioned well away from areas where they may be likely to come into contact with water.
Segregate Used & Unused Cylinders
Empty and full gas cylinders should be segregated within your gas cylinder storage area. The weight of the cylinder will be a clear indicator as to whether it is empty or full but to ensure total safety, it is advised to label used and unused gas cylinders accordingly. The contents of one gas cylinder should never be emptied into another.
Found this blog post useful? For more information on ensuring safe chemical storage in the workplace, refer to the Safety Storage Systems blog.