Guidelines for Safe Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders
Pressure cylinders are cylinders having contents of various chemical composition under pressure in liquid or gaseous state. Pressure cylinders possess huge potential energy, which can lead to disasters on enormous scale, for both the lives and properties, if not managed with appropriate safety measures during transportation, unloading, storage, handling and use.
Take the following precautions to prevent accidents, fire incidents and explosions that may be caused by improper handling of compressed gas cylinders during storage and also while taking them out for usage.
- Statutory rules should be strictly followed while storing full and empty cylinders.
- Store cylinders upright with valve protection caps and valve outlet seals in place.
- Secure cylinders when in transit, storage, or use.
- Store cylinders in specific areas designated for that purpose.
- Separate full and empty cylinders.
- Store cylinders in a well-ventilated, away from combustible materials, dry, cool and secure area protected from the weather.
- Always maintain a minimum of 20 feet distance between flammable gas cylinder and oxygen cylinder or the storage area should be separated, at a minimum, by a fire wall five feet high with a fire rating of 0.5 hours.
- Ensure that there is adequate separation from combustibles as specified by national regulations.
- Keep check on the atmosphere in areas where gases may vent and collect.
- FIFO (first-in, first-out) inventory system should be used to prevent full containers from being stored for long periods of time.
- Store only the amount of compressed gas required for the specific application.
- Prohibit use of naked flames and smoking etc., in storage spaces, whether indoor or outdoor, shall be prohibited.
- All doors or gates giving direct access to the cylinder storage shall open outwards.
- Cylinders should be stored away from emergency exits and heavily travelled areas.
- Protect cylinders from damp or wet ground.
- Cylinder storage should be provided with adequate but restricted access.
- Cylinders should be inspected visually on a routine basis, or weekly to a avoid any indication of leakage or other problems.
- Permit storage temperature to exceed 52°C (125°F).
- Store oxygen cylinder, full or empty in the same vicinity as inflammable gases.
- Store cylinders on upper floors or below ground level.
- Allow smoking or open flames in oxidizer or flammable gas storage areas.
- Store grease and oily materials around oxygen; nor should oil or grease be applied to fittings.
- Expose cylinders to corrosive materials such as ice melting compounds.
The above mentioned guidelines are given for those personnel/ agency who are engaged in storing pressure gas cylinder or their bank. However, the typical work situations /conditions prevailing at the work places must be given specific and technical considerations, to ensure safety.
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