Compressed Gases

Compressed gas cylinders may present both physical and health hazards. Gases may be oxidizers, flammable, reactive, corrosive, or toxic and these properties must be considered when developing experimental procedures and designing apparatus. Compressed gases, when handled incorrectly, can be very dangerous with a high potential for explosion. Only cylinders designed, constructed, tested, and maintained in accordance with US Department of Transpiration (DOT) specifications and regulations shall be permitted.

OSHA's general requirements for compressed gas cylinders can be found in 29 CFR 1910.101, which incorporates by reference the Compressed Gas Association's Pamphlets C-6-1968, C-8-1962, and P-1-1965. These pamphlets describe the procedures for inspecting, handling, storing, and using compressed gas cylinders. The National Fire Protection Association also provides guidance on the management of cylinders in NFPA 55: Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids Code, which is incorporated by reference into the Uniform Fire Code. Safety procedures that must be followed when handling, storing, and transporting compressed gas cylinders are summarized below:

  • Cylinders must be clearly labeled with their contents.
  • Regulators must be compatible with the cylinder contents and valve.
  • Cylinders must be secured in an upright position by corralling them and securing them to a cart, framework, or other fixed object by use of a restraint.
  • Cylinders must be stored in a cool, well-ventilated area away from ignition and/or heat sources.
  • When not in use, cylinders must always be capped.
  • Cylinder carts must be used to transport cylinders, and cylinders must be capped and properly secured during transport.
  • Cylinders containing flammable gases must not be stored near oxidizers (minimum 20 ft. separation).
  • Cylinders must not be stored near corrosives.
  • Cylinders must be stored away from doors and exits.

All cylinders (new, used, or empty) must be secured at all times. Chains or belts must be used with properly tightened clamps or wall mounts to secure cylinders that are not otherwise secured on carts, or in cylinder cages. Restraints must be kept tight at all times, with no appreciable amount of slack. Do not store gas cylinders in the hallway.

Although cryogenic liquefied gases (e.g. liquid nitrogen) are generally not stored under pressure, laboratory personnel must become familiar with the special hazards associated with the use of these gases

Chemical Hygene Plan - Table of Contents