OSHA Requirements for Gas Cylinders

By Lisa Chinn
Gas cylinders often contain flammable and explosive compressed gasses that pose safety hazards when not handled correctly.

explosion image by UBE from Fotolia.com

OSHA requirements for gas cylinders help protect workers from the safety hazards that compressed gasses can create, such as fire and explosion hazards. Each year in the U.S., thousands of workers sustain serious injuries as a result of unsafe work practices; OSHA aims to reduce the number of injuries by creating workplace regulations, such as requirements for gas cylinders.

Visual Inspections

OSHA requirements for gas cylinders state that employers must visually inspect gas cylinders in the workplace to make sure they are in safe condition.

Pressure Release Devices

Compressed gas containers in the workplace, including gas cylinders, must have pressure release devices, according to OSHA requirements. Compressed gas cylinders without proper pressure release devices pose a dangerous explosion hazard.

Gas Welding and Cutting Cylinder Transportation

OSHA forbids workers in the gas welding and cutting industry from intentionally dropping, striking or allowing gas cylinders to hit each other. Instead of using a method that makes dropping or striking likely, OSHA gas cylinder transportation regulations require workers to move gas cylinders by rolling them along their edges. When workers move cylinders by hoisting them, they should be securely attached to a cradle, slingboard or pallet. OSHA requirements for gas cylinders forbid workers from hoisting cylinders with magnets or choker slings.

Cylinder Labeling

OSHA requires that gas cylinders in workplaces have specific labeling that explains the type of gas in the cylinder. Employees can mark the cylinders with either the trade name of the gas or the chemical name of the gas. For example, workers could label a cylinder that contains oxygen as either "O2" or "oxygen gas." If possible, workers should put gas cylinder labels on the shoulders of the cylinders. They should also make sure to label them with strong enough stenciling or labels so that the label does not wear off easily.

Cylinder Storage

OSHA requires workers to store gas cylinders away from heat sources, and it requires workers to store them in well-ventilated, dry and well-protected spots. To prevent fires and explosions, OSHA requires workplace gas cylinder storage at least 20 feet away from highly combustible materials, and oxygen cylinders shall sit completely away from anything combustible, especially oils and greases. Workplaces should keep all gas cylinders away from greasy and oily materials. Cylinders containing acetylene should be stored with their valve ends facing up.

About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

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