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Safe Use of Compressed Gases

Following proper Cylinder and Equipment Safety is essential for anyone handling compressed and liquified gases. These gases are vital to applications used in a number of industries throughout the world. They are stored in many different types of containers including high- or low-pressure cylinders, bulk tanks, and pressurized and unpressurized liquid containers. Today we will cover industry standard safety procedures to keep you and your team protected.

Basic Responsibilities for any compressed gas cylinder or container:

  • Read over and understand all markings and labels on the cylinder and make sure they are legible and in good condition. 
  • Immediately report any damage or problems to the gas supplier or distributor. 
  • Always handle and store cylinders in a manner that they will not be damaged. 
  • Be aware of risks involved with high pressure cylinders and ensure the environment is compatible with the gas and container. 
  • Do not make any modifications to your cylinder or equipment and keep in good working condition. 

When compressed cylinders are not handled correctly, they can lead to serious injury and damage. Not only do compressed cylinders present the danger of pressure, they exhibit other hazardous properties which you should be familiar with: 

  • flammable
  • extreme cold
  • asphyxiant
  • oxidizer
  • corrosive
  • toxic

Certain gases can have a combination of these properties. You can learn what hazards each gas you work with presents by reading the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and product label. The SDS sheet has a wealth of information to reference and covers the properties of the chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical. The SDS sheet has the following mandatory sections which you should become familiar with:

Section 1: Identification– this section will identify the chemical, cover its recommended uses, and provide contact information of the supplier.

Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification– this section identifies hazards and the appropriate warnings associated with those hazards.

Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients– this section will identify all ingredients contained in the product, including impurities and stabilizing additives.

Section 4: First- Aid Measures– this section describes the care an untrained individual would administer to someone who has been exposed to the chemical.

Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures– this section covers recommendations for dealing with a fire caused by the chemical, suitable extinguishing equipment, and special protective equipment.

Section 6: Accidental Release Measures– this section provides information on how to properly respond to spills, leaks, or releases, and containment & cleanup practices.

Section 7: Handling and Storage– this section covers safe handling practices and storage of chemicals.

Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection– this section covers the exposure limits, engineering controls (e.g. use local exhaust ventilation, or use only in an enclosed system), and personal protective measures to minimize worker exposure. 

Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties – this section identifies the physical and chemical properties of the chemical including appearance, odor, PH, melting/freezing point, evaporation point, etc.

Section 10: Stability and Reactivity– this section describes the reactivity hazards and stability of the chemical.

Section 11: Toxicological Information– this section identifies toxicological and health effects and information on likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact), and descriptions of symptoms.

Safety Reminders 

  • Connect all hoses and equipment before opening any valves
  • Secure cylinders and containers when they are in use or storage
  • Never return gases or other products back into a cylinder or container
  • Immediately notify your gas supplier of any equipment issues, damage, or leaks

For more information on compressed gas safety and industry news, please visit https://www.cganet.com/. 

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