Compressed Gas Cylinders

One great concern with compressed gas cylinders is that they fall over and the valve stem is sheared off. These cylinders are typically charged to 1500-2500 psi (that is the pressure on a square inch of your hand would feel like 2500 lbs.) In such a case the cylinder functions like a rocket, blasting through wall after wall, or could behave as a grenade. For that reason, cylinders must be chained or strapped in place to prevent them from falling over. Metal cylinder caps for valve protection should be kept on at all times when the cylinders are not in use. Do not use cylinders without a pressure regulator. Inspect regulator inlets and cylinder valve outlets for foreign matter; it is essential that the threads aren't damaged so that a tight seal can be maintained. These regulators are intended for use with specific gases, and to ensure compatibility, the threads on regulators vary. Make sure the connections are compatible; if the inlet of the regulator does not fit the cylinder valve outlet, do not force it! Contact the supplier or producer of the gas or regulator if advice is needed on the selection of a regulator.

Transport cylinders only via hand truck; attempting to rock-walk the cylinder runs the danger of the cylinder slipping and falling. All gas cylinders should be labeled to identify their contents. Do not rely on color codes. Close cylinder valves when not in use. Do not rely on a regulator to stop the gas flow overnight. Close valves on empty cylinders and mark the cylinder ``empty". Store and use in well-ventilated areas, away from heat or ignition sources. Store oxygen away from flammable gases. A regulator, valve or other equipment that has been used with another gas should never be used with oxygen.

Note that H2 is extremely flammable, beware of any reaction in which this is given off as a product. O2readily supports combustion and is thus also considered flammable. Serious explosions have resulted from contact between oil and high-pressure oxygen. Oil should not-be used on connections to an O2 cylinder. Cylinders of combustible gases, e.g. CH4, H2, O2 should be stored in continuously exhausted areas. Inert gases can act as suffocants, so make sure that adequate ventilation exists when large quantities of N2, Ar, He and other inert gases are used.