Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety > Storage Considerations

Storage Considerations

Before ordering or moving compressed gas cylinders to a laboratory or laboratory support space it is important to ensure the following facilities requirements, engineering controls, and management practices are in place:

Ventilation - All compressed gases, except oxygen, may present an asphyxiation hazard during an unexpected or uncontrolled release. Therefore, proper ventilation and, if needed, monitoring must be in place before compressed gas cylinders are used.

  • General Ventilation Requirements - all cylinders must be stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Specific Ventilation Requirements - all cylinders of the following gases shall be kept in a continuously mechanically ventilated hood or other continuously mechanically ventilated enclosure:
    1. All gases that have Health Hazard Ratings of 3 or 4.
    2. All gases that have a Health Hazard rating 2 without physiological warning properties.
    3. Pyrophoric gases

Storage Limits - Total quantities on site should be limited to the foreseeable requirements.

Egress - Containers, when stored inside, shall not be located near exits, stairways, or in areas normally used or intended to be used for the safe exit of people. A second means of access to an exit shall be provided from a laboratory work area if any of the following situations exist:

  • A compressed gas cylinder is in use and is larger than lecture bottle size.
  • A cylinder is in use that contains a gas that is flammable or has an NFPA health hazard rating of 3 or 4.
  • The position of the cylinder may prevent safe egress in the event of an accidental release of the container contents.

Public Areas and Security - Containers in public areas should be protected against tampering.

Grouping - Where gases of different classes are stored at the same location, containers should be grouped, by types of gas, and compatibility. Full and empty containers should be stored separately with the storage layout so planned that containers comprising old stock can be removed first with a minimum handling of other containers. The best way to ensure that you understand all of the hazards associated with the materials you are using, including compatibility, is to read the Material Safety Data Sheet.

External Corrosion - Containers should not be exposed to continuous dampness and should not be stored near salt or other corrosive chemicals or fumes. Corrosion may damage the containers and may cause the valve protection caps to rust or stick.

Mechanical Damage - Containers shall be protected from any object that will produce a harmful cut or other abrasion in the surface of the metal. Containers shall not be stored near elevators, gangways, and unprotected platform edges or in locations where heavy moving objects may strike or fall on them.

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Additional Information:

Storage Considerations

Receiving Cylinders

Moving Cylinders

Regulator Use

Specific Gas Safety Data

Materials Compatibility

Developed By
Office of Environmental Health & Safety
Providence, RI 02912 Box 1914
Last Updated on 07/14/2005