The Joint Commission's (JCAHO) oxygen cylinder storage requirements are derived from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines on storing medical grade gas supplies. In 2000, the JCAHO sent out a sentinel event alert to health organizations nationwide on the gravity of effecting safe gas storage practices. That year, JCAHO was alerted to the death of four patients and injury of five others due to improper compressed gas storage.
Designated Storage Areas
The FDA recommends that seven separate areas be designated for the following: empty containers, full containers, in-process containers, different types of medical gases, rejected containers and closures, medical gases that have been released, and medical gases that have not been released. A possible eighth storage area may be necessary for industrial gases as well.
To prevent combustion, the Joint Commission requires following the FDA's recommendation that oxygen cylinders, among other medical gas containers, be stored covered in room temperature conditions. Storage areas should also be clean, dry and well ventilated.
Care of Accompanying Equipment
Oxygen cylinder accompanying equipment such as valve assemblies and hoses should be stored covered to prevent contamination and/or insect infestation, according to the Joint Commission.