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Gas Cylinder Safety Regulations and Guidelines

Gas Cylinder Safety Regulations and Guidelines

USAsafety.com products meet the specifications of various industrial safety organizations and can help you conform to established safety guidelines. Read on to learn more about these guidelines.

Guidelines by Organization
OSHA — Common Oversights of Safety Issues
OSHA — Standard 1910.253
Compressed Gas Association — Safe Handling of Compressed Gases
Uniform Fire Code — 1994 Uniform Fire Code — Part VII

OSHA

"Compressed Gas Cylinders - Common Oversights of Safety Issues found within OSHA Regulations" (Excerpts)

The actual OSHA standard, 1910.253(b)(2)(ii) says,

Inside of buildings, cylinders shall be stored in a well-protected, well-ventilated, dry location, at least 20 (6.1m) feet from highly combustible materials such as oil or excelsior. Cylinders should be stored in definitely assigned places away from elevators, stairs, or gangways. Assigned storage spaces shall be located where cylinders will not be knocked over or damaged by passing or falling objects or subject to tampering by unauthorized persons. Cylinders shall not be kept in unventilated enclosures such as lockers and cupboards.

1926.350(a) Transporting, moving, and storing compressed gas cylinders.

1926.350(a)(1) Valve protection caps shall be in place and secured.

1926.350(a)(2) When cylinders are hoisted, they shall be secured on a cradle, slingboard, or pallet. They shall not be hoisted or transported by means of magnets or choker slings.

1926.350(a)(3) Cylinders shall be moved by tilting and rolling them on their bottom edges. They shall not be intentionally dropped, struck, or permitted to strike each other violently.

1926.350(a)(4) When cylinders are transported by powered vehicles, they shall be secured in a vertical position.

1926.350(a)(5) Valve protection caps shall not be used for lifting cylinders from one vertical position to another. Bars shall not be used under valves or valve protection caps to pry cylinders loose when frozen. Warm, not boiling, water shall be used to thaw cylinders loose.

1926.350(a)(6) Unless cylinders are firmly secured on a special carrier intended for this purpose, regulators shall be removed and valve protection caps put in place before cylinders are moved.

1926.350(a)(7) A suitable cylinder truck, chain, or other steadying device shall be used to keep cylinders from being knocked over while in use.

1926.350(a)(8) When work is finished, when cylinders are empty, or when cylinders are moved at any time, the cylinder valve shall be closed.

1926.350(a)(9) Compressed gas cylinders shall be secured in an upright position at all times except, if necessary, for short periods of time while cylinders are actually being hoisted or carried.

1926.350(a)(10) Oxygen cylinders in storage shall be separated from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials (especially oil or grease), a minimum distance of 20 feet (6.1 m) or by a noncombustible barrier at least 5 feet (1.5 m) high having a fire-resistance rating of at least one-half hour.

1926.350(a)(11) Inside of buildings, cylinders shall be stored in a well-protected, well-ventilated, dry location, at least 20 feet (6.1 m) from highly combustible materials such as oil or excelsior. Cylinders should be stored in definitely assigned places away from elevators, stairs, or gangways. Assigned storage places shall be located where cylinders will not be knocked over or damaged by passing or falling objects, or subject to tampering by unauthorized persons. Cylinders shall not be kept in unventilated enclosures such as lockers and cupboards.

..1926.350(a)(12) 1926.350(a)(12) The in-plant handling, storage, and utilization of all compressed gases in cylinders, portable tanks, rail tankcars, or motor vehicle cargo tanks shall be in accordance with Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet P-1-1965.

1926.350(b) Placing cylinders. 1926.350(b)(1) Cylinders shall be kept far enough away from the actual welding or cutting operation so that sparks, hot slag, or flame will not reach them. When this is impractical, fire resistant shields shall be provided.

1926.350(b)(2) Cylinders shall be placed where they cannot become part of an electrical circuit. Electrodes shall not be struck against a cylinder to strike an arc.

1926.350(b)(3) Fuel gas cylinders shall be placed with valve end up whenever they are in use. They shall not be placed in a location where they would be subject to open flame, hot metal, or other sources of artificial heat.

1926.350(b)(4) Cylinders containing oxygen or acetylene or other fuel gas shall not be taken into confined spaces.

1926.350(c) Treatment of cylinders. 1926.350(c)(1) Cylinders, whether full or empty, shall not be used as rollers or supports.

..1926.350(c)(2) 1926.350(c)(2) No person other than the gas supplier shall attempt to mix gases in a cylinder. No one except the owner of the cylinder or person authorized by him, shall refill a cylinder. No one shall use a cylinder's contents for purposes other than those intended by the supplier. All cylinders used shall meet the Department of Transportation requirements published in 49 CFR Part 178, Subpart C, Specification for Cylinders.

1926.350(d)(2) The cylinder valve shall always be opened slowly to prevent damage to the regulator. For quick closing, valves on fuel gas cylinders shall not be opened more than 1 1/2 turns. When a special wrench is required, it shall be left in position on the stem of the valve while the cylinder is in use so that the fuel gas flow can be shut off quickly in case of an emergency. In the case of manifolded or coupled cylinders, at least one such wrench shall always be available for immediate use. Nothing shall be placed on top of a fuel gas cylinder, when in use, which may damage the safety device or interfere with the quick closing of the valve.

..1926.350(d)(3) 1926.350(d)(3) Fuel gas shall not be used from cylinders through torches or other devices which are equipped with shutoff valves without reducing the pressure through a suitable regulator attached to the cylinder valve or manifold.

1926.350(d)(4) Before a regulator is removed from a cylinder valve, the cylinder valve shall always be closed and the gas released from the regulator.

1926.350(f)(4) Hose which has been subject to flashback, or which shows evidence of severe wear or damage, shall be tested to twice the normal pressure to which it is subject, but in no case less than 300 p.s.i. Defective hose, or hose in doubtful condition, shall not be used.

1926.350(f)(6) Boxes used for the storage of gas hose shall be ventilated.

1926.350(g)(2) Torches in use shall be inspected at the beginning of each working shift for leaking shutoff valves, hose couplings, and tip connections. Defective torches shall not be used.

1926.350(h) Regulators and gauges. Oxygen and fuel gas pressure regulators, including their related gauges, shall be in proper working order while in use.1926.350(j)

Additional rules. For additional details not covered in this subpart, applicable technical portions of American National Standards Institute, Z49.1-1967, Safety in Welding and Cutting, shall apply. [44 FR 8577, Feb. 9, 1979; 44 FR 20940, Apr. 6, 1979, as amended at 55 FR 42328, Oct. 18, 1990; 58 FR 35179, June 30, 1993]

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulation 1910.253 (Excerpt)

(ii) Inside of buildings, cylinders shall be stored in a well-protected, well-ventilated, dry location, at least 20 feet (6.1m) from highly combustible materials such as oil or excelsior. Cylinders should be stored in definitely assigned places away from elevators, stairs, or gangways. Assigned storage spaces shall be located where cylinders will not be knocked over or damaged by passing or falling objects, or subject to tampering by unauthorized persons. Cylinders shall not be kept in unventilated enclosures such as lockers and cupboards.

3.2.6 Use suitable hand truck, fork truck, roll platform or similar device with cylinder firmly secured for transporting and unloading.

3.3.8 Protect cylinders from any object that will produce a cut or other abrasion in the surface of the metal. Do not store cylinders near elevators or gangways, or in locations where heavy moving objects may strike or fall on them.

3.3.10 Cylinders should be protected against tampering by unauthorized individuals.

3.4.4 Before using cylinder, be sure it is properly supported to prevent it from being knocked over.

3.5.3 Do not store reserve stocks of cylinders containing flammable gases with cylinders containing oxygen. They should be segregated. Inside of buildings, stored oxygen and fuel gas cylinders should be separated by a minimum of 20 feet, or there should be a fire-resistive partition between the oxygen and fuel gas cylinders. This is in accordance with NFPA Standard No. 51. "Gas Systems for Welding and Cutting." (6)

3.7.1 ICC specification cylinders containing pressurized liquid oxygen, nitrogen or argon must be transported, stored, and used in an upright position. These materials are maintained at extremely low temperatures, and cylinders must be kept upright to permit venting of vapor periodically to maintain safe internal pressures.

(*)Rules pertaining to the storage and handling of cylinders apply with equal force to the storage and handling of spheres and drums where the alternate use of these containers is authorized by ICC Regulations.

(3)"American Standard Method of Marking Portable Compressed Gas Containers to Identify the Material Contained," Z48.1 - CGA Pamphlet C-4 available from Compressed Gas Association, Inc. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10036 and American Standards Association, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, New York, N.Y. 10016.

(4)"A Guide to the Preparation of Labels for Compressed Gas Containers" - Pamphlet C-7, available from Compressed Gas Association, Inc. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10036.

(6)"Gas Systems for Welding and Cutting" - NFPA Standard No. 51, published by National Fire Protection Assocation, 60 Batterymarch Street, Boston, MA 02110.

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Compressed Gas Association, Inc.

"Safe Handling of Compressed Gases" (Excerpts)

3. Safe Handling Rules for Cylinders of Compressed Gases (*) The rules of this section apply generally to the handling of all cylinders containing compressed gases. References to other publications giving additional handling precautions for specific gases are listed in Section 6.

3.1.9 Where the user is responsible for the handling of the cylinder and connecting it for use, such cylinders should carry a legible label or stencil identifying the content. See American Standard Method of Marking Portable Compressed Gas Containers to Identify the Material Contains, Z48.1(3) , and CGA Pamphlet C-7, "A Guide to the Preparation of Labels for Compressed Gas Containers."(4)

3.2.3 Never drop cylinders nor permit them to strike against each other or against other surfaces violently.

3.2.5 Avoid dragging or sliding cylinders. It is safer to move cylinders even short distances by using a suitable truck.

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Uniform Fire Code (UFC)

1994 Uniform Fire Code — Part VII (Excerpts)

The UFC has been adopted as the fire safety basis in 21 states. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and BOCA (Building and Occupation Code of America) is the code basis for the remaining 29 states. UFC tends to be a more restrictive code set, however.

Special Subjects - Article 74 - Compressed Gases

7401.6.1 General. Compressed gas containers, cylinders, tanks and systems shall be secured against accidental dislodgement and against access by unauthorized personnel in accordance with Section 7401.6.

7401.6.2 Security of Area. The storage, use and handling or compressed gas containers, cylinders, tanks and systems shall be safeguarded in accordance with Section 8001.9.2.

7401.6.3 Physical protection. Compressed gas containers, cylinders, tanks and systems which could be exposed to physical damage shall be protected. Guard posts or other means shall be provided to protect compressed gas containers, cylinders, tanks and systems indoors and outdoors from vehicular damage. When such guards are provided, see Section 8001.9.3 for design criteria.

7401.6.4 Securing compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks. Compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks shall be secured to prevent falling due to contact, vibration or seismic activity. Securing of compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks shall be by one of the following methods: Exception: Compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks in the process of examination, filling, transport or servicing.

1. Securing containers, cylinders and tanks to a fixed object with one or more restraints.
2. Securing containers, cylinders and tanks on a cart or other mobile device designed for the movement of compressed gas containers, cylinders, or tanks.
3. Nesting of compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks at container filling or servicing facilities or in seller's warehouses not accessible to the public. Nesting shall be allowed provided the nested containers, cylinders or tanks, if dislodged, do not obstruct the required means of egress.
4. Securing of compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks to or within a rack, framework, cabinet or similar assembly designed for such use.

7403.3.2 Carts and Trucks. Containers, cylinders and tanks shall be moved using an approved method. Where containers, cylinders, or tanks are moved by hand cart, hand truck or other mobile device, such carts, trucks or devices shall be designed for the secure movement of containers, cylinders, or tanks. Carts and trucks utilized for transport of compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks within buildings shall be in accordance with Section 8001.10.3. Carts and trucks utilized for transport or compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks exterior to building shall be designed so that the containers, cylinders and tanks will be secured against dropping or otherwise striking violently against each other or other surfaces.

7404.2.1.4 Gas Cabinets. Gas cabinets shall be in accordance with the following:
1. Operated at a negative pressure in relation to surrounding area,
2. Provided with self-closing, limited-access ports or noncombustible windows to give access to equipment controls. The average velocity of ventilation at the face access ports or windows shall not be less than 200 feet per minute (61 m/min) with a minimum of 150 feet per minute (45.7 m/min) at any point of the access port or window,
3. Connect to an exhaust system,
4. Provided with a self-closing door,
5. Constructed of not less than 0.097-inch (2.46 mm) (12 gage) steel, and
6. Internally sprinklered.

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