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What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Compressed gas cylinders can be a deadly hazard in the workplace when handled improperly.  Many cylinders contain pressures in excess of 2000 pounds per square inch (PSI) that can cause them to become a rocket and making this one of many important safety topics.  For this reason, industries that depend on compressed gasses to perform jobs created several important guidelines for storage.

A cylinder stored in an upright position and securely fastened is safe if the valve is knocked off or in the unlikely event that heat causes the valve to come off.  When the cylinder contains high pressure and the valve is suddenly removed, Newton’s Law of Opposite Reaction comes into play.  If properly stored on a solid floor, the cylinder will exert downward force and spend its contents without any damage (unless it is an explosive or flammable gas).

When an explosive or flammable gas is contained in the cylinder, it must be secured as previously mentioned and in an area clear (20 feet or more) from a heat source.  The area of storage must also allow for air movement so that any escaping gas will dissipate and not become concentrated in one area.  If the cylinder contains inert gas that does not mix with other air, it can push life-sustaining oxygen out of a work area and cause suffocation.

During this week’s safety contact meeting, discuss the types of gas used in your work area and their potential to create danger.  Inspect the area and make sure that cylinders are stored properly so that you reach the goal: Nobody Gets Hurt.

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