Human Resources

Compressed Gases

Widely used in laboratories, they are often taken for granted but they do represent a significant risk potential. This page highlights the risks and lists the corresponding precautions to be taken.

General Considerations

Compressed gases present three potential safety issues.

The first two issues are pressure and volume. A third issue is the nature of the contained gas. Fuels burn. Oxygen supports combustion. Other gases have special characteristics.

The primary safety rule for handling compressed gases is:

An empty cylinder is never out of gas. The same handling rules apply to it that apply to a full cylinder of the same gas. If the gauge reads zero and the cylinder is at sea level, the cylinder still contains gas at 14.7 psi absolute pressure.

General Handling Rules

Valves and Regulators

When attaching a regulator to a cylinder certain procedures should be followed in a specific sequence. Refer to the manufacturer's specifications when in doubt. The following is a general outline (specific situations may require a different sequence):

Cylinder Storage