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LP Gas Cylinders And Compressed Gas Cylinder Storage and Handling.

Gas Cylinders require special storage and handling precautions for worker safety. Some of the dangers or risk hazards with compressed gases include explosion hazards, oxygen displacement, toxic effect of some gases, and the physical hazards of a ruptured cylinder. There are almost 200 different types of materials in gas cylinders including atmospheric gases, fuel gases, refrigerant gases, poison gases and miscellaneous gases.

The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) is a recommended source for safe practices when working with industrial gases. They have many publications designed to ensure the safe handling of compressed gases during manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution and use.

OSHA refers to specific CGA documents has regulations for the use of compressed gases. The inspection of gas cylinders is discussed in 29 CFR 1910.101, Compressed Gases. DOT has regulations covering the transportation of compressed gases by rail, highway, aircraft and waterway.

Inspecting Gas Cylinders
Regular visual inspection of gas cylinders should be done to ensure that they are in a safe condition. Cylinders can be tested ultrasonically for hidden defects,if necessary. Remove from service all leaking regulators, cylinder valves or other equipment. Cylinder contents and status should be clearly identified at all times, letting handlers know the cylinder is full, empty or in service.

Compressed Gas Cylinder Storage
Proper storage of gas cylinders requiring cylinders to be secured to prevent tipping, falling or rolling. Straps or chains connected to a wall bracket or other fixed surface, storage locker or using a cylinder stand. Cylinders should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated, fire-resistant area. Check with federal, state and local regulations that may apply to your area. Cylinder storage areas should be safe and secure where the cylinders will not be knocked over or damaged by falling objects. Be sure to close valves and have valve protectors in place on all unused cylinders.

Handling LP Gas and Compressed Gas Cylinders

Close valves on all unused and empty cylinders. All gas cylinders should be tightly secured when transported to ensure they do not tip, fall or roll. Secure the gas cylinder to the cylinder truck or cart. Before moving cylinders, close valves, remove regulators and put on valve protection caps.

When using a crane, hoist or derrick to transport gas cylinders, you must also use appropriate lifting devices, such as cradles or nets. Take safety precautions to ensure gas cylinders are not dropped or allowed to strike each other or other objects. Stirking or dropping cylinders may damage the cylinder valve, creating a dangerous with the potential to destroy property and/or injure personnel.

Do not use magnets or slings to lift gas cylinders. Do not use the valve protection cap for lifting a gas cylinder.

Be sure to select the proper regulator for use with each gas cylinder. Do not use a lubricant on a gas cylinder regulator. Do not tamper with or attempt to repair a gas cylinder regulator.

Consult the appropriate MSDS for detailed information on the chemical contained in the gas cylinder. Specific chemical handling and storage precautions will be outlined in the MSDS. The MSDS will also include specifications for personal protective equipment for worker protection.

8.5 Fire Protection.
8.5.1 Fire Extinguisher Requirements. Storage locations, where the aggregate quantitiy of propane stored is in excess of 720 lb (327 kg), shall be provided with at least one approved portable fire extinguisher having a minimum capacity of 18 lb (9.2 kg) dry chemical with a B:C rating.

8.5.2 The required fire extinguisher shall be located no more than 50 ft (15 m) from the storage location. Where fire extinguishers have more than one letter classification, they can be considered to satisfy the requirements of each letter class.
(Also see NFPA 10.)

Check state and local codes or contact your local Fire Marshall for compliance information.

For More Information
Refer to OSHA's Standard 29 CFR1910.101 which covers general requirements regarding compressed gases. This standard refers to the Compressed Gas Associations (CGA) Pamphlet and is a good source or more information on storing LP gas containers

  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.101
  • NFPA 58 Liquified Petroleum Gas Code-2004
  • NFPA 1-617-770-3000
Compressed Gas Association - 703-412-0900


Questions & Answers

Q: What is OSHA's regulation for gas cylinder storage?

A: OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.101 which also refers to the CGA pamphlet.

Q: How do I find out the distance requirements for proper outside storage of LP containers?

A: NFPA Title 58 table 8.4.1 outlines distance requirements from buildings, property lines, busy thoroughfares, sidewalks and other points of adjoining public gathering points.

Q: How do I find storage requirements for indoor storage?

A: NFPA Title 58 8.3.2 and 8.3.3 addresses indoor storage and breaks it down based on buildings frequented and not frequented by the public.

Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.
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