We take for granted the power a compressed gas cylinder possesses. Think about it, most cylinders are pressurized to in excess of 2,000 pounds per square inch! Pretty amazing considering many fluid power pneumatic systems only reach a maximum of 250 PSI.

What's even more fascinating is how casually we treat these "Sleeping Giants". The following suggestions can be found in the Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet P-1. Let's look at a few common hazards to avoid when handling or using a pressurized cylinder:

Capless Cylinders

Cylinder caps are designed to protect the valve from damage and releasing gas under pressure. If you notice an un-capped cylinder, immediately locate and secure the protective cap. If a capless pressurized cylinder were to fall over and the valve broken, the cylinder could turn into a rocket. If a cap is excessively hard to open, contact your supplier immediately for replacement. Valve protection caps for a cylinder designed to accept a cap shall always be in place and hand tight except when cylinders are secured, in use, or connected for use. The user should not switch caps since not all gas suppliers use the same cap threads. A cracked or dented cap should be brought to the attention of the gas supplier (CGA Pamphlet P-1 Sec. 3.4.1)

It's a good idea to store caps in close proximity to the cylinders in use. Remember, the cylinder cap is designed for your protection, use them.

Temperature Extremes

Compressed gas containers shall not be exposed to temperature extremes. High temperatures may result in excessive cylinder pressure. Never apply a flame or heat directly to any part of a compressed gas container or allow it to come in contact with an electrically energized system. If ice or snow accumulates on a container, thaw at room temperature, or with water at a temperature not exceeding 125 ºF (51.7 ºC). (CGA Pamphlet P-1 Sec. 3.3.3)

Moving Cylinders

Always transport high-pressure containers using a cart specifically designed for that purpose. Users of compressed gas containers should not roll or drag cylinders due the potential for damage or weakening of steel or aluminum walls. A variety of single or multiple cylinder carts area available through your gas suppliers. Always keep carts where cylinders are used and stored.

Cylinder Storage

All compressed gas cylinders in service or in storage at user locations shall be secured to prevent falling or rolling. Ensure that containers stored or used in public areas are protected against tampering and damage. Furthermore, stored containers (either inside or outside) shall not obstruct exit routes or other areas normally used or intended for the safe exit of personnel. (CGA Pamphlet P-1 Sec. 3.7.3, 3.7.4)

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