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Compressed Gas

University of Nebraska
EHS Lab Safety
Colloquium Series Initiative

The information and recommendations contained

herein have been compiled from sources
believed to be reliable and represent the current
opinion on the subject. No warranty guarantee
or representation is made by Linweld Inc. as to
the correctness or sufficiency of any information
contained herein and Linweld Inc. assumes no
responsibility therewith.
The content in this
document is not to be construed as legal advice
or the final authority regarding OSHA, EPA, DOT
or any other government agencies.

When it comes to handling

compressed gas cylinders and
cryogenics; there are only three
potential problems.
The Containers, The Contents And
The Pressure.
Other Than That - There Is No

The Containers



Lets Talk About The


Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders

o Never use cylinders as rollers.
o Never lift a cylinder by the cap.
o Never move or transfer cylinders
without their caps.
o Never allow cylinders to be
exposed to flame or extreme
o Never tamper with valves.

Cylinder Securement
o All compressed gas cylinders MUST
be secured from falling at ALL times.
o Use a chain or other substantial
restraint devices whether
or not the cylinders are in
storage or in use.
29CFR 1910.101(b) & CGA 3.7.4

Visually Inspect All Cylinders

o Watch for asymmetrical ice patches
the side of the cylinder.
o Watch for excessive ice build up on
the pressure relief valves.
o Arc burns, excessive heat, corrosion
and gouges are a few things that can
weaken the walls of a cylinder.

Protect Valves
o Use caps on all cylinders that are able
to receive a cap except when
connected for use.
o Any cracked or dented caps should be
brought to the attention of your
Linweld Representative.
29CFR 1910.101(a) & CGA 3.4.1

Gas Regulators
o Regulators are designed to reduce
compressed gas pressures to usable
o Regulators come in high & low
pressure designs.
o Incorrectly exchanging or
interchanging regulators can have
catastrophic consequences.

Gas Regulators

o Compressed Gas Regulators

sophisticated and exact
metering devices that are
required to be used and
maintained according
to manufacturer

Gas Regulators
The internal working parts of the regulator are precision units. Only qualified
technicians should clean or repair a regulator

The low pressure

gauge indicates the
delivery pressure to
the hoses & torch

The Pressure adjusting

screw turning clockwise
allows the gas to flow
turning counter clockwise
reduces or
stops the gas flow

The High pressure

gauge Indicates the
pressure from tank
The inlet connections
More just right & left
hand thread
regulators and
connectors are
specific to their
Keep free of oil,
grease, & dirt

Gas Regulators
Potential Hazards
Interchanging gas regulators has several
potentially hazardous outcomes.
o The density and the viscosity of various
gases change their flows through flow
meters. Thus interchanging flow meters
between different gases may result in
inaccurate readings. The 02 flow meter
is not accurate with Helium, or with air.

Gas Regulators
Potential Hazards
Interchanging gas regulators has
potentially hazardous outcomes.
o Different gases have different effects
with the internal components of the
various regulators. Some gases can
deteriorate the diaphragms and
other working parts.

Gas Regulators
Handling & Use
o Regulators are gas specific and not
necessarily interchangeable!
o Always make sure that
the regulator and valve
fittings are compatible.
o Never use adapters beyond
manufacturers recommendation.

Gas Regulators
Handling & Use
o After the regulator is attached, the
cylinder valve should be
opened just enough to
indicate pressure on
the regulator gauge
(no more than one full
turn) and all the connections checked with
a soap solution for leaks.

Gas Regulators
Potential Hazards
Interchanging gas regulators has several
potentially hazardous outcomes.
o Oxidizing, Flammable, Toxic, Corrosive
and Strong Oxidizing gasses are
incompatible and auto-reactive. Even
trace amounts in the regulators or gas
lines could have potentially
catastrophic results.

Gas Regulators
Potential Hazards
o Further information can be found in
ANSI/CGA V-1-1994 Standard for
Compressed Gas Cylinder Valve
Outlet and Inlet Connections.
o UNL SOP http://ehs.unl.edu

The Contents
Hazardous Material is any material
known to create a danger to any
persons health, life, or property
through contact, exposure,
inhalation, fire, explosion or
environmental pollution.
All compressed & cryogenic gases are
considered Hazardous Materials.

The Contents
Content Identification
All compressed gas cylinders are required to
be identified as to their contents.
OSHA Required Components
Product name
Precautionary statement
Responsible company
Always check the cylinder label; NEVER rely
on the color of a cylinder as to its contents.

The Contents - Types of Hazards

Toxic Irritation





The Contents
Cryogenic Liquids
Gases stored as liquids at
temperatures below -130o F.
Helium /
-452o F
Nitrogen /-320o F
Argon /-302o F
Oxygen /-297o F

The Contents
Non-Cryogenic Liquids
Gases stored as liquids at
temperatures above -130o F.
Nitrous Oxide / -127o F
Carbon Dioxide / -109o F
Propane / -44o F
Anhydrous Ammonia / -28o F

Lack of correct PPE and

exposure to Liquid Propane

The Contents
Low Temperature Hazards

o Never allow liquids to contact skin or

o If exposed, warm area with warm water.
o Make a medical referral.
o Oxygen Displacement
o Can cause asphyxiation

The Contents
Health Hazards
Central nervous system
o Anoxia
o Direct action on neurons
Target organ effects
o Liver
o Kidneys
o Blood
o Reproductive system

The Contents
Explosive Hazards
Flammable Limits (in Air)







Acetylene /LEL 2.2% - UEL 82.5%

Hydrogen /LEL 4.0% - UEL 74.5%
Propane / LEL 2.2% - UEL 9.5%

The Contents
o Supports combustion.
o Do not use near oil or grease.
o Never refer to oxygen as air.
o Liquid oxygen can saturate clothing,
making them flammable.
o Keep 20ft away or separated by a
hour rated fire resistant wall from
flammable materials.

The Contents
Explosive Hazards
Fire Triangle & Fire Tetrahedron



The Contents
Handling & Storage
Personal Protective Equipment
Eye Protection
Face Protection
Clothing and Coverings

Atmospheric Monitoring

The Contents

Rapid Vaporization
Oxygen Displacement or
Enrichment (CO2 is a vasodilator)

The Pressure
Expansion Rates
Besides the contact of cryogenic liquid
with human tissue there is the rapid
vaporization that must be taken into

Coffee Cup Illustration

One cup of Liquid Oxygen at an expansion rate
of 860:1 will produce 649 cubic feet of gas.
One cup of Liquid Nitrogen at an expansion
rate of 696:1 will produce 600 cubic feet of gas.
One cup of Liquid Argon at an expansion rate of
841:1 will produce 512 cubic feet of gas.

The Pressure

Lets Talk About The


What does
1/2 pound
look like?

Cylinder Force - Dont Make A

Rocket, Man.
The compression of gases is similar to the compression of a
spring, the greater compression the greater the release of the
stored energy there is. However, unlike a spring in which the
energy is released in the opposite direction that it is
compressed. Gases do not have a shape, and when accidentally
released; releases its stored energy in all directions.
A K size nitrogen compressed to 2200 pounds per square inch,
has the stored energy equivalent to a half pound of TNT!
If there was an uncontrolled release of energy such as a valve
being sheared off, or the cylinder failed in some way, you would
have a rocket or a bomb. Both are undesirable options.
Thanks to Don L Wenzl, LINWELD Specialty Gas Technician

Other Safety Concerns

o Compressed gas streams should never be

directed toward any person. CGA 3.3.10
o Federal Standard: compressed air shall not
be used for cleaning purposes except
where reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and
then only with effective chip guarding and
personal protective equipment. 1910.242(b)

o Always keep the regulator free of oil,

grease and other flammable
o Use the correct regulators for the
specific gas service.
o Never hammer or use cheater bars
when connecting or disconnecting
regulators or manifold connections.
o Never tape or attempt to wrap any
leaking connections.

o DO NOT change the inlet connection

on a regulator in an attempt to use the
regulator for a different gas service.
o Never stand in front or behind a
regulator when opening the cylinder
o Identify full & empty cylinders and
maintain proper seperations.

The scrappers pickup truck on which the

Oxygen GP was being transported.

The pressure relief devices had been removed and plugged

using a threaded cap

Cylinder exploded at 12:40 PM while transport

vehicle was parked on busy Interstate highway
Vehicle Location

Cylinder Trajectory

The blast blew one individual across 5 lanes of traffic. The other
was blown approximately 40 feet.
Both men survived

Cylinder flew approximately mile before plunging through

the roof of an apartment, severing a main natural gas line and
coming to rest in the living space

Plywood applied over hole in roof

Despite heavy damage, no injuries to

apartment tenants were reported

Apartment interior

Note that the media reported the event as a

Butane cylinder explosion

Monday the 29th of September, 2003, a fitter with a

work van left an E size Oxygen and Acetylene cylinder
on the back seat of a Toyota dual cab over the

This van was destroyed by an explosion from a carbon dioxide

cylinder that was allowed to be over-heated

This is an example of why cylinders need to be correctly secured

while being transported.


The Conclusion
o Always ensure the safety of yourself & those
around you before starting any job.
o Never look the other way if you see something
that is unsafe.
o Safety is a Personal Issue Safety is all about

The Conclusion

Additional Information

Compress Gas Association (CGA)
Pamphlet P-39, Oxygen-Rich Atmosphere

UNL EHS Safe Operating Procedures

Your Linweld Representative