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How to Safely Handle Gas Cylinders

Mishandling compressed gas cylinders can be extremely disastrous. Compressed gases can cause fires, explosions, oxygen deficient atmospheres, toxic gas exposure and more hazards. To use compressed gas cylinders safely, it’s vital that they are stored and handled properly.

How to store gas cylinders

When storing gas cylinders, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Storing cylinders upright and securing them with a chain, strap, or cable to a stationary building support or to a proper cylinder cart to prevent them from tipping or falling. Restraints must be fastened on the upper half of the cylinder above the center of gravity.
  • Ensuring valves are completely closed and securing any protection devices.
  • Storing cylinders in a dry, well-ventilated area at least 20 feet from combustible materials. Avoid keeping cylinders in lockers. If they leak, a buildup of flammable or other types of gases can occur inside the locker.
  • Mark the storage area with proper precautionary signs, such as flammable, oxidizer, or toxic.
  • Placing them in a location where they will not be subject to mechanical or physical damage, heat, or electrical circuits to prevent possible explosion or fire. Do not let indoor temperature exceed 100°F.
  • Keep cylinders away from vehicle traffic.
  • Keeping empty cylinders away from full cylinders.
  • Limit access to storage area to authorized personnel.

How to handle and transport gas cylinders

Did you know that most accidents or injuries involving cylinders occur when moving or handling the gas cylinders? When moving gas cylinders, observe the following safety tips:

  • Use the right equipment, correct procedures, and sufficient number of persons to lift and move cylinders to avoid personal injury and cylinder damage.
  • Do not handle more than one cylinder at a time unless a cart that is designed for such purpose is utilized
  • Wear protective footwear, safety glasses, and heavy gloves.
  • Securely install the valve protection devices, such as caps or guards.
  • Keep cylinder vertical, except for short periods of time while cylinders are being hoisted or carried
  • Secure cylinders upright to a proper hand truck or cylinder cart designed for the purpose. Don’t drag or roll them – use a properly designed cart or hand truck!
  • When using a crane, be sure to use proper cradles, nets, boats, or special platforms designed for this purpose to prevent cylinders from falling.
  • Handle them carefully to avoid dropping or banging them.
  • Avoid lifting them by the protective cap/guard or using magnets or slings to lift or move them since valves may be damaged or sheared off.

The above cylinder safety guidelines are based on recommendations from the Compressed Gas Association and American Welding Society.  

Contact Atlas Welding Supply

For the safety of your team and business, establishing policies that promote safe cylinder storage and handling is essential. But, when in doubt, contact your gas supplier to send a qualified representative to take care of the problem or refill your cylinders.

With decades of experience in gas and welding applications, we are confident we can be your trusted partner for everything from supplying the appropriate gas, troubleshooting equipment and providing customized solutions that guarantee safety and efficiency.

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