Home | Sitemap | 1800-946-9956

*Sign up for our FREE OSHAlert Newsletter

Online Store Osha Products Osha Training Clia Products Consulting About Us Resource Center

Gas Cylinder Safety

Compressed gas cylinders are potential hazards, no matter what the size, and correct handling and use are required. If the guidelines below are followed, small compressed gas cylinders are not an undue hazard. Therefore, the most important safety guideline is to ensure that all staff who come in contact with or use compressed gas know and follow these policies.

  • Have material safety data sheets (MSDS) for every compressed gas. Review these sheets for the chemical hazard present in a particular gas. Oxygen gas, for example, is flammable and should be kept away from heat and electricity. Its fittings must not be lubricated with oil or grease.
  • Gases in cylinders are also under pressure, and if the cylinder is punctured or broken, the gas is released explosively, propelling the cylinder with dangerous force. Use, transport and store cylinders in an upright position, and secure by a chain, collar, or transport cart to prevent them from falling over. Keep valve covers on cylinders when they are not in use.
  • Regulators are specifically designed for each type of gas to prevent incompatible gases from mixing; therefore, never interchange regulators. Regulators must be tightly secured on full cylinders before the valve is opened. Release the valve slowly, away from the face and eyes. If any hissing is heard, shut the valve immediately. Do not use regulators or fittings that leak. Soapy solutions will form bubbles over leaks and can be used to check fittings. Because gas leaks often cannot be seen, heard, or smelled, it is crucial that faulty fittings not be used.
  • When gas cylinders are replaced, tightly shut the valve even if the cylinder is believed to be empty. The pressure and flow rate on the regulator should read zero before it is removed. Train all staff who manipulate cylinders how to discriminate the cylinder pressure gauge from the flow rate gauge, and how to interpret their readings. Replace regulators with faulty gauges immediately.
  • Manage inventory so that only a minimal amount of cylinders required are kept at the facility. If cylinders are used infrequently, post received dates and expiration dates. Do not store cylinders indefinitely; return old or expired cylinders to the manufacturer. Do not remove identification labels on cylinders even if the cylinder is believed to be empty.
  • Clearly mark empty cylinders and store as carefully as the full ones because residual gas may be present. Store empty cylinders separately from full cylinders and dispose of properly. Never place in ordinary trash, particularly if trash is to be incinerated.

« Return to OSHA Articles l Printer Version

View Cart


Online Store

Stay in compliance with our OSHA and CLIA products

Online Store »

Online Training Center

Annual retraining is an OSHA requirement, but it doesn't have to be time consuming, expensive or boring.

Online Training Center »