Employees who work with or near compressed gas cylinders must be aware of hazards associated with those cylinders, and use safe work practices. Compressed gas cylinders are hazardous in that if damaged to the extent of an uncontrolled gas leak, they may act much like a rocket, and travel great distances with great force. Compressed gas cylinders may also contain hazardous materials.
Anyone using a compressed gas cylinder must understand proper operation of the pressure valve, pressure regulator, and proper use and storage of the tanks.
If the compressed gas cylinders are used in conjunction with welding, cutting, or brazing operations, additional safety requirements, described in additional OSHA regulations must be considered. These are addressed in that section of this document.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.101 Compressed Gases, General Requirements
Keys to Compliance for Supervisors:
- When not in use gas cylinders must be stored with protective caps, and chained or strapped to a secure wall.
- Stored gas cylinders should be stored and segregated according to their contents.
- Only the appropriate pressure regulator for the cylinder and its contents is permitted; other regulators may fail or leak.
- Compressed gas cylinders should be moved from one location to another using an appropriate cart. These carts are not to be used for extended storage of the cylinder.
- All cylinders must be labeled with the contents of the cylinder; if contents are not labeled, do not use the cylinder.
- Small cylinders, commonly called “lecture bottles” pose the same hazards as larger cylinders, and should be handled appropriately.
Q. Why can’t I store the cylinder with the pressure regulator attached?
A. Pressure regulators can be easily damaged, and can be left under pressure (i.e., turned on), creating larger hazards.
Q. Why can’t I use pressure regulators interchangeably?
A. Most are designed to fit only one type of cylinder, and won’t fit others properly, creating a leak hazard; pressure regulators are also designed to work optimally in a specified pressure range appropriate to that cylinder and its contents
Q. How do I know which regulator fits which tank?
A. Your vendor can assist you. Tables of regulators versus compressed gas cylinders can also be found in the catalogs of major vendors.