Compressed Gas Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders can be extremely hazardous when misused or abused. Compressed gas cylinders can present a variety of hazards due to their pressure and/or content. Depending on the particular gas, there is a potential for simultaneous exposure to both mechanical and chemical hazards.

Be Safe, Think SafeGases Used May Be:

  • Flammable or combustible
  • Corrosive
  • Explosive
  • Poisonous
  • Inert
  • Acidic
  • Reactive
  • or a combination of hazards

Compressed gas cylinders should be handled only by those familiar with the hazards and who are trained in the proper handling techniques. Cylinders containing compressed gases are heavy and awkward to move. Improper handling of compressed gas cylinders can result in sprains, strains, falls, bruises, or broken bones. Other hazards such as fire, explosion, chemical burns, poisoning, and cold burns could occur if gases accidentally escape from the cylinder due to mishandling. Take the following precautions to prevent injuries caused by the improper handling of compressed gas cylinders.


  • Move cylinders using a suitable hand truck or cart.
  • Leave the valve protection cap and valve seal outlet in place until the cylinder has been secured in place and is ready to be used.
  • Secure cylinders when in storage, transit, or use.
  • When returning cylinders to the supplier, properly close the cylinder valve, replace and secure any valve outlet seals, and properly install the cylinder cap.
  • Use a cylinder cage or cradle to lift a cylinder.
  • Use the proper PPE for cylinder handling. Wear safety glasses with side shields, leather gloves, safety shoes, and other appropriate equipment.
  • Use extreme care and restrict the movement of portable banks to localize movement on clean, smooth, level stationary surfaces.
  • Use two people for localized manual movement of a portable bank.


  • Drag or slide cylinders, even for short distances.
  • Drop cylinders or permit them to strike each other violently.
  • Subject cylinders to mechanical shocks that may cause damage to their valves.
  • Use cylinders as rollers for moving material or other equipment.
  • Tamper with pressure-relief devices.
  • Permit oil, grease, or other readily combustible substances to come in contact with cylinders, valves, or other equipment in oxidizer service.
  • Remove any product labels or shipping hazard labels.
  • Refill compressed gas cylinders. This is to be done only by qualified producers of compressed gases.
  • Lift a cylinder by its cap using a sling or a magnet.
  • Attempt to catch a falling cylinder.


Danger - Gas Cylinder Storage AreaTake the following precautions to prevent injuries caused by asphyxiation, fire, explosion, high pressure, and improper handling of compressed gas cylinders.


  • Store cylinders in accordance with ISO Standard 11625.
  • Store cylinders upright with valve outlet seals and valve protection caps in place.
  • Secure cylinders when in storage, transit, or use.
  • Store cylinders in areas designated for that purpose.
  • Segregate full and empty cylinders.
  • Store cylinders in a dry, cool, well-ventilated, secure area protected from the weather and away from combustible materials.
  • Ensure that there is adequate separation from combustibles as specified by national regulations.
  • Monitor the atmosphere in areas where gases may vent and collect.
  • Use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory system to prevent full containers from being stored for long periods of time.
  • Store only the amount of compressed gas required for the specific application.
  • Store cylinders away from heavily traveled areas and emergency exits.
  • Provide adequate access for cylinder handling.
  • Visually inspect stored cylinders on a routine basis, or at least weekly, for any indication of leakage or problems.
  • Restrict access to cylinder storage areas.
  • Protect cylinders from wet or damp ground.


  • Allow storage temperature to exceed 125°F (52°C).
  • Permit smoking or open flames in oxidizer or flammable gas storage areas.
  • Expose cylinders to corrosive materials such as ice melting compounds.