Tips for Safe Handling of Pressure Cylinders at Worksite
Pressure cylinders are cylinders having contents of various chemical composition under pressure in liquid or gaseous state. Pressure cylinders possesses 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.
In this blog, we will deal with common safety tips for handling of pressure cylinders.
Compressed gas cylinders should be only handled by people who are properly trained for safe handling techniques and who are familiar with the associated hazards. Cylinders containing compressed gases are heavy and difficult to move. Improper handling of compressed gas cylinders can lead to falls, strains, sprains, bruises, or broken bones. Mishandling can lead to other hazards such as chemical burns, cold burns, fire, poisoning and explosion, if harmful gases accidentally escape from the cylinder.
Following do’s and don’ts can be useful to prevent injuries caused by the improper handling of compressed gas cylinders.
- Move cylinders using a suitable cart or hand truck. (Refer to below figure)
Figure: Typical Cylinder Hand Trucks
- Ensure that cylinders are secured while in transit, storage or use.
- Using appropriate PPE for cylinder handling is a must. Wear leather gloves, safety glasses, safety shoes and other appropriate protection equipment.
- Leave the valve seal outlet and valve protection cap in place until the cylinder has been secured in place and is ready to be used.
- Close the cylinder valve properly, install the cylinder cap, replace and secure any valve outlet seals while returning cylinders to the supplier.
- Use a cradle or proper cylinder cage to lift a cylinder.
- Take extreme care and restrict the movement of portable cylinder banks on smooth, clean and level stationary surfaces.
- For localized manual movement of a portable bank, use two people. Ensure no one comes in the bank’s travel path. Also, be aware of escape routes should the bank get out of control or start falling. Use a crane, forklift or other appropriate material handling equipment if a smooth level surface is not available to move the portable bank.
- Lift the cylinder by its cap using a magnet or a sling.
- Try to catch a falling cylinder.
- Drop cylinders or allow them to strike with each other violently.
- Use cylinders as rollers for moving material or other tools.
- Drag or slide cylinders, not even for short distances.
- Subject cylinders to mechanical shocks which may cause damage to their valves.
- Tamper with pressure-relief devices.
- Permit grease, oil or other readily combustible substances to come in contact with valves, cylinders or other equipment in oxidizer service.
- Remove any product labels or shipping hazard labels.
- Refill compressed gas cylinders. This is required to be done only by qualified producers of compressed gases.
The above mentioned common safety tips are given for those personnel/ agency who are engaged in moving pressure gas cylinder or their bank. However, the typical work situation /conditions prevailing at the work places must be given specific and technical considerations, to ensure safety.
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