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Gas Cylinders Handling Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Gas Cylinders Handling Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Gas Cylinders Handling Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Gas Cylinders Handling Safety Do’s and Don’ts



Safety in handling compressed gas cylinders: Compressed gas cylinders pose a risk to human life and damage to property. Some commonly used compressed gas cylinders in industries are nitrogen, argon, acetylene, LPG, air and oxygen to perform welding, cutting, purging, maintenance, rescue and medical uses. Most cylinders are pressurized at high pressure ranging from 8 bar to 300 bar. If these compressed gas cylinders are not handled properly, they can leak, rupture, or explode and the consequences can be disastrous.
We need to understand the hazards associated with handling gas cylinders, because without it we cannot assess the risk and difficult to decide the controls.

Hazards of gas cylinders

  1. High pressure
  2. Flammable or explosive properties of the gas in the cylinder
  3. Deterioration or corrosion of cylinder material
  4. Unsafe handling of gas cylinders
  5. Gas toxicity
  6. Cylinder weight
  7. Damaged nozzle
  8. Use of gas cylinder with overdue hydrotest
  9. Unsafe storage of cylinders - direct exposure to sunlight, inadequate ventilation, etc.
  10. Physical or mechanical damage


Risk associated with gas cylinders

  1. The cylinder may rupture or explode due to the high pressure and may cause serious injury or property damage.
  2. If flammable gas leaks and leaks fire, the cylinder may explode.
  3. Cold burn can be caused due to exposure to cryogenic gas or liquified gas leak from the cylinder.
  4. The cylinder may rupture or burst due to material deterioration or corrosion.
  5. Exposure of personnel to toxic gases can occur when the cylinder leaks.
  6. Due to the heavy load of the gas cylinder, it may injure personnel during manual lifting and shifting.
  7. A damaged nozzle will cause gas to leak and the cylinder can fly off, projectile and strike neighboring property or injure personnel.
  8. If the cylinder is used without hydrotest or after overdue date, there is a risk of explosion or rupture.
  9. Direct exposure to sunlight or inadequate ventilation during storage, the gas cylinder may explode due to rise in internal pressure.
  10. With unsafe handling of the cylinder, physical or mechanical damage can cause serious incidents due to the rupture or explosion of the cylinder.


Dos and Don'ts of Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders

To control the hazards associated with the compressed gas cylinders, following the Safety Dos and Don'ts will help you prevent unwanted events and damage to personnel or property.

Dos

  1. Use a soft pad or a ramp to unload the gas cylinders.
  2. The cylinder cap and key must be in place when handling the cylinders.
  3. Separate the different cylinders according to gas properties such as acetylene (DA), oxygen, LPG, etc. during storage.
  4. Store empty and full cylinders separately in a dry, cool and ventilated place.
  5. All cylinders should always be secure and protected from the weather and away from combustible materials.
  6. Proper tagging and labeling must be ensured when storing gas cylinders.
  7. Label the storage area.
  8. Use a trolley or hand truck or cart to move or shift the gas cylinders.
  9. Always keep gas cylinder secured, chained, or tied in an upright position.
  10. Maintain minimum separation between the flammable gas cylinder and the oxygen or combustible source.
  11. The cylinder must be lifted using the cylinder cage or cradle.
  12. Flame arresters must be used at both ends of the DA tubes and oxygen cylinders
  13. Regularly inspect the pipe, cylinders, and valves for any signs of wear, crack.
  14. The cylinder should be handled by at least two people during localized manual movement.
  15. Leak cylinders should be removed from the site immediately to a safe location.
  16. Provide ‘No smoking” sign near the storage of flammable gas cylinders.


Don’ts

  1. Avoid hitting or drop or impact during handling and transportation.
  2. Don’t transport or shift or move cylinder without putting nozzle safety cap.
  3. Don’t drag, roll or slide the cylinders while handling, even over short distances.
  4. Don’t use cylinders as a roller to shift or move other material.
  5. Don’t lift the cylinder manually by holding the nozzle valve wheel, it may cause accidental gas discharge from the cylinders.
  6. Don’t use a cylinder without a pressure gauge.
  7. Don’t tamper with pressure-relief devices.
  8. Don’t expose the cylinder to heat and direct sunlight.
  9. Don’t use oil or grease to lubricate the nozzle or valves of oxygen and other oxidizing gas cylinders.
  10. Don’t damage the cylinder valves and fittings by using for lifting.
  11. Don’t strike a cylinder valve with a hammer to open it.
  12. Don’t store gas cylinders under direct sunlight.
  13. Don’t apply force to connect the cylinder that does not fit.
  14. Don’t transport cylinder on a bicycle or two-wheeler.
  15. Don’t remove the original hazard identification label.
  16. Don’t use a gas cylinder after the hydrotest date has expired.
  17. Don’t use a gas cylinder without proper identification.
  18. Cracked tubes should not be used with the cylinders.
  19. Cylinder valve keys should not be removed for accessibility reasons.


Summary
Handling the compressed gas cylinder poses a high risk to personnel and property and should therefore be handled with care by qualified personnel only. Welders, fitters, operators and maintenance personnel should understand the risks associated with compressed gas cylinders and should be instructed in the safe handling procedure. The gas cylinders are heavy and difficult to move manually, therefore, a trolley or hand cart should always be used to move the cylinders, otherwise the staff could experience sprains, strains, falls, bruises, or fractures.

Appropriate control measures and safety awareness in the form of dos and don'ts of handling compressed gas cylinders can help prevent incidents.

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