Compressed specialty gas cylinders are a common item in many industries. Though generally safe to work around, they can present some hazards. Practicing proper compressed gas cylinder safety techniques effectively prevents accidents and maintains job site safety. Learn more about compressed gas hazards and protecting workers with gas safety check procedures.
Common Compressed Gas Hazards
One of the first steps in developing a compressed gas cylinder safety program is making sure your employees know the safety hazards. Compressed gases come in liquefied, non-liquefied, and dissolved forms, and pose the following health risks:
Asphyxiation is the most common hazard associated with compressed gas cylinders. Inert gases are colorless and odorless, making them difficult to detect.
Fire and Explosion
Fire and explosion are primary hazards when working with a flammable gas like oxygen and other oxidizing gases. Static electricity, flames, and other heat sources can ignite difficult to control fires.
Corrosive gases can chemically alter various items, including fire-resistant clothing. While some gases aren’t corrosive in their pure state, the addition of moisture from the atmosphere makes them extremely destructive. The chemical burns from corrosive gases cause permanent skin damage.
All compressed gases are stored in cylinders to maintain necessary pressure. However, a sudden release of pressure causes the cylinder to propel at dangerous speeds or whip the gas line. Proper cylinder handling prevents a sudden release of pressure.
Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety Tips
Having a gas safety check procedure at your facility minimizes the health risks. Here are some compressed gas cylinder safety procedures that maximize safety:
Moving compressed cylinders to a different location in a personal vehicle is never recommended. If you need to relocate cylinders over a long distance, make sure an authorized transporter does it. However, compressed gas cylinders frequently need to be moved inside a facility. Following these tips minimizes the risk of exposure to compressed gas hazards:
- Securely strap cylinders to an approved cart before moving.
- Always wear safety gloves, glasses, and hard-toed shoes when moving cylinders.
- Keep the protective valve cap in place during transport.
- Never drag or roll a cylinder on its side.
- Avoid lifting or moving a cylinder by the valve or cap.
Accident risks are high when transporting cylinders, and using hand trucks gives peace of mind proper measures are being practiced.
Compressed gas cylinders should be handled with caution at all times. When setting up your workstation, check to verify that the cylinder is leak-free. Opening the cylinder valves slowly reduces the risk of exposure, and closing them when not in use prevents dangerous leaks. Other tips when installing high-pressure gas cylinders:
- Wear safety goggles or a face shield when setting up the cylinder.
- Tightly secure cylinder using strap or chain.
- Don’t use excessive force when removing the valve cap.
- Provide easy access to the valve in case an emergency shutoff is required.
- Never stand in front of the regulator as it’s pressurizing.
- Check the fitting and tubing for leaks using a soap solution or electronic leak detector.
Safe storage is a key element of a compressed gas cylinder safety program. Here are some tips to minimize compressed gas hazards when the cylinders aren’t in use:
- Store cylinders of the same hazard class in the same area.
- Always separate full cylinders from empty cylinders.
- Make sure cylinders are stored in an upright position.
- All cylinders must be stored 20 feet from combustible or flammable materials.
Gas Welding Safety Procedures
Gas welding and cutting operations are among the most common uses of compressed gas cylinders. Here are some best practices to follow that maintain safety while using flammable gases:
- Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid exposure to harmful fumes and chemicals.
- Verify mobile welding carts are stable and properly sized for the cylinders being used.
- Make sure the cylinders are secure and upright at all times.
- Inspect all equipment and replace any worn or damaged hoses and valves.
- Wear safety gloves, clothing, and goggles while welding.
- Close all valves and purge gas lines to release excess pressure once done working.
Let Oxygen Service Company Help With Your Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety Protocol
Finding the right supplier is an important step in implementing your company’s gas safety check procedure. The experts at Oxygen Service Company have decades of experience helping various industries improve their compressed gas cylinder safety. Our services include:
Specialty Gas Consulting
Making sure your supplier has the knowledge and expertise to provide the right specialty gas is critical. The employees at OSC are available to help you select the right high-quality products for your industry. We’ll make sure your specialty gas is industry compliant.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Stocking your job site with the right PPE protects your employees at all times. Our welding supply store is stocked with the leading PPE equipment, and our employees are available to help serve your particular needs.
OSC: Providing Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety Since 1959
OSC has been helping businesses across the upper Midwest with their specialty gas and welding needs for over 60 years. Our team is committed to developing long-term relationships with our clients and maintains this commitment by sticking to our five core values:
- Getting things done
- Acting professionally
- Having a customer-focused mindset
- Positive attitudes
- Doing the right thing
Contact OSC today and learn more about our services designed to maintain compressed gas cylinder safety.