Gas cylinders are mobile pressurized gas containers and are used in numerous industries. For example, when welding in workshops, working in laboratories or as a refrigerant in cooling and freezing applications. There are many hazards associated with handling gases, which makes them more challenging to store than liquid hazardous materials.
When storing pressurized gas containers, a distinction is made between storage in rooms and storage outdoors. In each case, applicable and specific safety regulations must generally be observed depending on the storage location. Below, we list some of the most critical requirements.
Watch out for the differences! Many companies need to store gas cylinders to ensure a constant supply. If compressed gas containers are kept in stock, this is considered storage. On the other hand, it is regarded as a provision if you keep filled gas cylinders to hand in the respective required number and size...
To connect to the extraction facility as soon as possible (insofar as this is necessary for the work process),
at workplaces for manual use,
on loading ramps or areas for subsequent removal within a short time,
in salesrooms for the presentation of the product range
The quantity of hazardous substances provided must always be kept to a sensible minimum necessary for the continuation of daily work as determined by the safety officer.
Generally applicable safety regulations
Gas cylinders can pose a considerable hazard if stored incorrectly - for example, uncontrolled escape of gases due to damage to the pressurized gas container or explosion under the influence of high heat. Therefore, gas cylinders must generally be protected from 5 things: high heat, fire, corrosion, mechanical damage and unauthorized access.
Gas cylinders must be protected from high heat
Gas cylinders must not be exposed to fire
Gas cylinders must be stored protected against corrosion
Manual damage must be prevented
Unauthorised persons must be prohibited from entering the store
First of all, requirements for the location of the gas cylinder store must be considered - gas cylinders may not simply be stored in any area on the company premises. It is not permitted to store gas cylinders in stairwells, narrow passages or passageways, garages, work rooms, and rooms below ground level (note special regulations according to TRGS 510 here). Stored gas cylinders must not obstruct traffic and escape routes. In addition, a gas cylinder store must not be accessible to the general public. Unauthorized persons must be prohibited from entering the gas cylinder store. The gas cylinder store must be kept under lock and key, and appropriate prohibition signs must be posted. Protected areas shall be calculated and marked according to the hazard posed by the type of gas stored (e.g. Ex). If necessary, all equipment used in the protected area must also be explosion-proof.
A safety distance of more than five meters must be maintained to installations and equipment from which hazards such as excessive heating may arise. Necessary: the protected area must not extend to neighbouring properties or public traffic areas. Pits, sewers, floor drains and cellar areas are to be excluded from the protection area. If combustible gases are stored, the following applies: No ignition sources in the protected area. A fire extinguisher must also be kept on hand. In storage rooms for combustible gases, at least one door must lead directly outside.
According to TRGS 510, there are no restrictions for the combined outdoor storage of different types of gas. However, there are restrictions on integrated storage in rooms - especially if flammable, oxidizing, and acutely toxic or toxic gases are stored (see TRGS 510 paragraph 7). Generally, ensure appropriate safety distances between the various gas cylinders per TRGS 510 and your risk assessment.
Compressed gas cylinders should be stored upright if possible to prevent mechanical hazards. Liquefied gas cylinders may not be stored horizontally. In any case, the gas cylinders must be kept to stand safely (or lie down if standing storage is impossible) and are secured against rolling away, falling over and falling. Hazards from vehicles or other equipment must be excluded. The installation of suitable collision protection can be helpful here. Always ensure that the valves of the gas cylinders are secured with protective caps and, if necessary, lock nuts. No gas cylinders may be dispensed from, filled or otherwise repaired within the store.
Generally, storage outdoors is the best alternative, as sufficient ventilation can be ensured naturally. Open storage is a store that is open on at least two sides or opens on one side if the depth - measured from the open side - is not greater than the height of the open side. A side is considered available if it consists of a wire mesh or similar.
Gas cylinder cabinets and containers for outdoor use offer optimum conditions for safe, legally compliant storage of gas cylinders. They have mesh side walls or ventilation slits in the walls allowing natural ventilation. Canopies ensure sufficient weather protection. Many gas cylinder cabinets and containers also have retention devices or safety chains to effectively prevent the gas cylinders from falling over. Additional advantage: gas cylinder cabinets and receptacles are generally lockable and meet the requirements to protect the store against unauthorized access.
An outdoor gas cylinder store is ideal from many points of view. However, it’s not always practical. If additional protective measures are taken, it is also possible to store gas cylinders indoors. In addition to adequate ventilation, the following requirements, among others, must also be met:
Ceilings, partitions, and external walls of storage rooms must be at least fire-retardant.
Storage rooms must be separated from adjacent rooms by self-closing fire-retardant doors.
Only electrical systems and equipment in explosion-proof design may be used in storage rooms for combustible gases.
The floor covering must be made of flame-retardant material.
In storage rooms, a minimum distance of 2 m shall be maintained between gas cylinders containing combustible gases and those containing oxidizing gases.
No pits, ducts, floor drains or chimney cleaning openings may be present in storage rooms.
The distance between compressed gas cylinders and radiators, etc. must be at least 0.50 m