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Handling gas cylinders safely

In many companies, gas cylinders are used daily. We often assume their use is harmless since anyone can use a gas cylinder without proving their safety knowledge. Caution is required for each application because mistakes in handling gas cylinders can have devastating consequences. Therefore, you should observe specific safety regulations when handling gas cylinders and inform your employees.

Safely working with gas cylinders

In general, based on your prior risk assessment, you should establish safety measures and regulations for using gas cylinders in your business. Available notes: all vital information on the safety-relevant properties of the gases and advice on specific safety measures can be found in the safety data sheet provided by your gas supplier. Instruct employees regularly and appropriately about the operation of pressurized gas containers, the particular hazards, and the measures to be implemented for accidents and faults. Specific care and attention are required when changing cylinders. Before use, for example, the prescribed personal protective equipment (PPE) should be put on, and if available, the extraction device should be switched on. If possible, sufficient natural ventilation should also be provided.

Before using or changing the cylinder, make sure that you connect the correct gas cylinder and observe the specific material properties of the contents. Check lines and hoses regularly for damage and ensure all connections are tight. To avoid damage to hoses in the future, ensure they do not rub on corners and edges or reach across traffic routes where they could be driven over. Fittings, stockings and tools for oxygen must always be free of grease, oil and dirt. Otherwise, there is a risk of spontaneous combustion. Also, secure the gas cylinder at the workplace against falling over and close the cylinder valves during more prolonged work interruptions.

What should I pay attention to when transporting gas cylinders?

Did you know that a gas cylinder can weigh more than 70kg? This poses a risk of injury that should not be underestimated - especially during transport. It is not only people who can be injured by improper gas cylinder handling. The risk of damaging the gas cylinder is also significantly increased during transport. In the event of a fall, for example, the valve, the weakest point of the gas cylinder, can break off and lead to a sudden release of the pressurized contents. Gas cylinders can turn into projectiles that can even penetrate concrete walls. Therefore, some safety requirements must be observed when gas cylinders have to be transported. In general, you should only transport gas cylinders with the valve cap screwed on and also protect the gas cylinders from excessive heat during transport to prevent pressure increases in the cylinder.

Transportation of gas cylinders within the company site

Again, remember first to put on the appropriate PPE (e.g. safety shoes and Protective gloves). Bumping, throwing and rolling horizontally are forbidden when transporting gas cylinders. Generally, people should not carry gas cylinders or move while standing. Use Gas cylinder trolleys and transport racks instead. These professional tools are recommended for regular activities and have numerous safety features that prevent the gas cylinders from falling over, rolling away or bumping into each other during transport. If it is necessary to transport the gas cylinder to other floors, people and gas cylinders must never ride together in a lift. You should only transport gas cylinders by crane if they are on a pallet. For this purpose, we offer special craneable gas cylinder pallets in our online shop. In our extensive range, you will also find gas cylinder trolleys and transport racks for forklift trucks or pallet trucks.

Transporting gas cylinders on public roads

When transporting gas cylinders on public roads, the regulations of the ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) must be observed. Before transporting, determine your substances' maximum permissible total quantities per transport unit (exemption limits). Attention must also be paid to the regulations on combined loading with other dangerous goods.

If the quantities you transport remain below the exemption limit, the following principles apply:

  • Only transport sealed gas cylinders with valve protection (e.g. protective caps)
  • Do not open packages
  • Attach the prescribed markings and labels
  • Carry a fire extinguisher
  • Load in open or ventilated vehicles if possible
  • No fires or naked flames
  • No smoking during loading
  • Observe precautionary measures for food, luxuries and animal feed in the case of toxic gases
  • Protect against damage by using adequate load securing
  • Carry transport documentation
  • Train drivers
  • Vehicle and driver must comply with the applicable regulations (operational and road safety, equipment)

The principles listed above also apply to transporting uncleaned, empty gas cylinders. In this case, the transport documentation shall note any deviating information concerning the packages.

If the exemption limit is exceeded, additional special regulations must be observed:

  • Carry two fire extinguishers
  • Provide additional protective equipment
  • Ensure the vehicle driver has an ADR certificate
  • Ensure the transport unit and, if applicable, packages (if containers are used) are specially marked
  • Observe special precautions for stopping, parking, loading and unloading
  • If necessary, arrange monitoring of the vehicles
  • Carry photo ID for each member of the vehicle crew
  • Observe special regulations for toxic gases
  • Prohibit consumption of alcoholic beverages or other substances that interfere with official activities
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