In general, gas cylinders should be stored outdoors in a secure, well ventilated store or cage. There are many different compressed gases with differing characteristics, so you should make reference to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for each gas, and talk to your compressed gas supplier for advice on the best gas cylinder storage method. Here are some of our own top tips for gas cylinder storage:
- Locate your gas store away from sources of ignition and away from drains. Some gases are heavier than air and will settle near the floor and make their way into nearby drains and gulleys.
- The store should also be located where it can easily be reached by fire fighters. Gas cylinder stores and cages can be bought off the shelf or you could have a bespoke store manufactured to suit your specific requirements.
- Your store needs to be well ventilated so a good practice is to use wire mesh steel panels for the walls which will allow maximum ventilation. A solid roof is a good idea for a gas cylinder storage unit as it will protect valves and fittings from the elements and provides weather protection for operators.
- Cylinders should be stored upright with safety chains to secure them and prevent them falling over. Some smaller medical gas cylinders are required to be stored horizontally so racks will be required in your gas cylinder storage area to store them.
- Safety signage should be fitted to your gas cylinder storage area to help people to easily identify the different gases you are storing. A separate area should be allocated for storage of empty cylinders. Consider access to the store and how operators will move cylinders from the store into your process area.
- If you have different gases to be stored you will need to consider segregation of non-compatible gases. If you only have 1-2 cylinders of each gas type, then segregation is not required. Larger volumes will require segregation. Fuel gases will need to be stored minimum of 3 metres from other gases or stored with a firewall between them and other gases.
- The store should not be used for storage of any other materials e.g. fuel, oils, greases. The BCGA (British Compressed Gases Association) produce a guidance booklet with advice on segregation and your gas supplier should also be able to provide any additional advice if necessary.