Gas Cylinder
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Compressed gas cylinders are a common sight on construction and contracting jobs. They can also be a huge danger to staff and bystanders if not handled properly. While these cylinders are vital to welding processes, there are many accidents every year from improper procedures for handling, use and storage for these pieces of equipment. OSHA has listed detailed guidelines for the handling and storage of gas cylinders. Here is a brief rundown of these policies.

The Use of Valve Protection Caps

Whenever a compressed gas cylinder is moved, transported or stored, a valve protection cap is required to be securely in place at all times. The only exception to this is when cylinders are securely affixed to a specialized carrier. Such a carrier would have other precautions in place to protect the valve as the canister is transported.

Any time a cylinder has a regulator affixed, it is considered to be connected for use by OSHA. The special carrier or “truck” is one that is designed to protect regulators and cylinder valves and will keep the canisters in an upright position (not horizontal) at all times. Protection of the valves and regulators is of utmost concern to OSHA.

Securing Cylinders

When stored, all cylinders should be securely restrained using cylinder trucks, chains or other stable straps or securing devices. There should be little to no danger of a cylinder ever being knocked over while in use. Knocking a canister over could have disastrous consequences to the operator and job site.

Transporting Cylinders

When being transported a cylinder should be secured firmly against any possibility of movement in any direction. This means they should not be permitted to roll, bump or jostle about. They should also be secured to a rack in the car with the tops elevated and inclined at an angle of at least 30 degrees from horizontal.

Storage of Cylinders

While inside, all canisters should be stored in areas that are dry, well-ventilated and very secure. The storage area should be no less than 20 feet away from combustible materials such as gas, oil, kerosene or the like. Storage areas must be clearly designated and strictly assigned. They should be as far away from stairs, gangways and elevators as possible. Finally, they should be stored upright and not horizontally.

The risk to knock over or damage canisters, whether by tampering, passers-by or falling objects, should be minimized as much as possible. Lockers and cupboards are unsuitable locations for the storage of this equipment, as they are too tightly enclosed and not well-ventilated enough. An exploding canister inside such an area would do even more damage as the gas would be further compressed, adding to the concussive force.

The proper use and protection of these cylinders and canisters is vital to keeping your labor force safe on the job site and controlling contractor liability issues. For more information about safety, please see the OSHA Standards site. What are your thoughts about securing and transporting gas cylinders? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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