Discover the best ways to safely handle, use, and store gas cylinders in the workplace through gas cylinder safety.
Published 8 May 2023
Gas cylinder safety pertains to a set of measures or actions for ensuring that gas cylinders are handled, stored, and used safely at work. Implementing these measures helps protect workers, properties, and other vital assets from risks associated with these containers. Moreover, it can prevent explosions, fires, gas leaks, and physical injuries due to improper handling or storage.
To safely use and handle gas cylinders, workers need to understand the hazards associated with them. Some of these hazards include the following:
Fire hazards are one of the primary risks associated with gas cylinders. These containers carry flammable and oxidizing gases, which can ignite fires if they come into contact with flames or static electricity. Moreover, if a cylinder is exposed to extremely high temperatures, it becomes more susceptible to wear and tear and, consequently, fires.
Aside from fires, and because gas cylinders are also pressure vessels, gas cylinders are also vulnerable to explosions. For example, if the cylinder is heated or exposed to a heat source (e.g., an open flame), the pressure inside can quickly rise to dangerously high levels, thereby running the risk of explosions. Similarly, if the container is dropped or damaged in any shape or form, it can rupture and explode.
Many gases stored in gas cylinders can pose a significant risk to the worker’s health if inhaled or ingested. Even in tiny concentrations, exposure to these toxic gases can be lethal and can lead to a range of health problems, such as but not limited to:
Gas cylinders can cause physical injuries when stored and handled improperly. For instance, they can be hard to move given their weight and, thus, require proper handling and lifting techniques. If not secured properly, these cylinders can fall over and injure the person.
When high levels of pressure are released due to cracks or punctures in the cylinder, workers run the risk of incurring severe injuries. In addition, the corrosive gases inside these cylinders can penetrate fire-resistant clothing and burn the skin underneath.
Gas cylinders require a number of safety precautions to avoid and/or mitigate potential risks. Here are some best practices for labeling, handling, storing, inspecting, and transporting gas cylinders:
Gas cylinders often follow a labeling system to identify their contents and other vital information. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these labels, as they can guide you in safely handling and storing the cylinder.
Make sure that the labels in the cylinders clearly state the type of gas contained inside (or the lack thereof, if empty). In case these labels become faded or unreadable, mark the cylinder as “content unknown” and reach out to the manufacturer for proper removal.
It’s important to follow the correct procedures when using and handling gas cylinders to prevent injuries and accidents. To carry out this process safely, here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:
Safely storing gas cylinders entail a few must-haves. To start, they must be kept in a secure and well-ventilated area with warning signs. Be sure to store them in an upright position and attach them to a wall with the valve protection cap intact to prevent them from falling over.
In addition, keep these containers away from direct sunlight and other heat sources, as they could ignite a fire or explosion upon contact. But in case leaks and other issues occur, consider investing in leak detection and alarm systems for critical alerts.
Similar to the storage instructions, gas cylinders must always be transported in a well-ventilated vehicle. They must also positioned upright with protective caps in place. Be sure to check with your local authorities on the regulations and guidelines applicable to gas cylinder transportation.
Regular inspections ensure the safe handling, storage, and transportation of gas cylinders. Inspectors should visually check the cylinders and similar equipment at least once a month for the following items:
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
Several countries worldwide have established safety regulations for handling, storing, and using gas cylinders and similar equipment in the workplace. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most prominent local regulations for gas cylinder safety:
Safety precautions are crucial for any business that handles, uses, and stores gas cylinders. However, keeping track of these measures across different functions can be challenging for maintenance teams. For instance, paper forms containing vital information can easily get lost and workers may miss important items during cylinder checks.
SafetyCulture, the world’s leading operations platform, can streamline these processes through powerful digital solutions. With this mobile-first app, safety officers and frontline workers can:
Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.
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