Safety Precautions When Handling Compressed Gas

Multiple industries rely on industrial compressed gas systems for their daily processes. When misused, these compressed air cylinders pose health risks, making implementing a proper handling safety precaution protocol a top priority. Read more about the hazards of working with flammable gases and accident prevention tips.

General Hazards When Working With Compressed Gas Systems

Understanding the hazards associated with compressed gas systems is the first step toward increasing employee safety. Here are some of the common safety issues caused by compressed gas cylinders:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When gas burns improperly or is used in poorly ventilated areas, excessive amounts of carbon monoxide are produced. When inhaled, carbon monoxide impacts the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and can lead to death if not addressed. Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Stomach and chest pains

Ignition

Welders working with flammable gases need an oxidizer and an ignition source to burn the fuel. Failure to maintain oxidizer levels within the flammable limits increases the chance of explosion. Also, elements like static electricity and other heat sources can ignite the gas, creating a significant safety risk for workers.

Gas Leaks

When gas or specialty mixes leak into the air, they displace the oxygen to dangerous concentrations. This can lead to significant health problems and death if proper safety precautions aren’t followed.

Compressed Air Cylinder Safety Guidelines

Following safety procedures is critical for ensuring employee safety. Here are some safety tips when dealing with compressed gases:

Label Each Cylinder

Clearly identify every cylinder so your employees know its contents. These identification labels should be stenciled or stamped to verify long-term effectiveness.

Inspect Before Using

Make sure you have the right regulator before using a compressed gas cylinder. Also, remember to inspect every part for foreign substances. Replace any damaged valves and never grease cylinders with oil or grease because they increase the risk of explosion.

Operate Carefully

Only properly trained employees should handle or use compressed air cylinders. Slowly opening the valve with the outlet facing away reduces the risk of leaks and accidents. Be aware of the type of gas you’re using. Gases like acetylene shouldn’t be opened more than half a turn of the spindle to reduce the ignition risk.

Relocate Cylinders With Care

Compressed gas cylinders pose a risk even when not in use. Never drag, slide, or roll a cylinder around a facility; always use a cart or basket for transport. Also, make sure the cylinder is secured before moving and always have a protective cap covering the valve. Finally, never use the valve cover to lift cylinders; this increases the risk of leaks and damage.

Store Cylinders Properly

Proper storage is critical for maintaining safety. Never store cylinders in public hallways or unprotected areas with regular traffic. Be sure to follow each gas’ specific storage requirements. Oxygen, for example, should be stored at least 20 feet from other gas cylinders. Also, keep compressed air cylinders in dry areas that receive minimal sunlight; this minimizes the risk of rust.

Train Your Staff

Proper training enables your team to maximize a compressed gas safety program. Make sure everyone who comes into contact with cylinders is trained and updated on precautions and hazards associated with each gas. These training sessions should occur regularly to reinforce the importance of these workplace procedures.

Ensure Safe Water Treatment With CK Supply

Water safety is a year-round concern. Industrial gases are essential to water treatment, and securing a steady supply is vital to providing quality drinking water for your community. For over 70 years, CK Supply has supported Missouri with industrial, medical, and atmospheric gases. We deliver gases quickly and efficiently at the purity you require. Our Gas Express System transfers gas directly from our truck to your liquid containers. Our processes eliminate inventory management and keep you in control.

Ready to get the gas supply you deserve? Reach out today.