Cal/OSHA amended Title 8, Section 1740, Storage and Use of Cylinders, to clearly state that acetylene and fuel gas cylinders (including but not limited to welding and cutting fuel gas cylinders) need to be used and stored with the valve end up for safety. Previously, the regulation could have been interpreted to require that all gas cylinders are stored and used with the valve end up. These changes are in effect as of September 20, 2007. To view Cal/OSHA gas cylinder handling requirements, visit the regulation Web site.
The change occurred because acetylene can form unstable, explosive pockets of acetone in the cylinder regulator when it is stored horizontally. The updated regulation exempts forklift fuel gas cylinders from the requirement because they are mounted horizontally. In addition, non-fuel gas cylinders like oxygen are not required to be upright because they do not pose a fire/explosion hazard.
While you update employees about this regulation change, remind them of these general safety principles for gas cylinders:
Gas cylinders contain pressurized materials. If the cylinder is breached, the released energy can propel it at great speeds. Damaged cylinders can travel for half a mile, crashing through walls, equipment, and workers. Instruct employees on the hazards of the gas cylinders they use (materials may be inert, flammable, explosive, toxic, or a combination). Cylinder labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS) provide information on safely handling materials.
Keep gas cylinder valve protection caps in place when cylinders are moved, transported or stored. Don’t use or store cylinders close to heat, flame, and spark sources or where they might form a part of an electric circuit. Don’t take cylinders of oxygen, acetylene, or fuel gases into confined spaces. Don’t transfer acetylene from one cylinder to another, or try to mix gases in a cylinder; leave that to the gas distributor.
Store gas cylinders securely fastened to a stable structure or rack to prevent them from falling over. Keep oxygen cylinders at least 20 feet away from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials, or use a 5-foot noncombustible barrier fire-rated at least 30 minutes. To move gas cylinders, securely fasten them to hand trucks or other specialized carts. Gas cylinders raised or lowered by crane, hoist, or derrick should be secured in cradles, nets, or skip boxes, and never lifted by magnet, rope or chain slings.
To use a fuel gas cylinder, quickly open and close the valve (“crack” it) to clear it of dust or dirt before connecting a regulator. When cracking the valve, stand to one side and ensure that the released gas does NOT contact welding work, sparks, flame, or other possible ignition sources. Open fuel gas cylinder valves slowly and only about 1 1/2 turns to allow for quick shutoff in an emergency. Keep the shut off wrench available at all times in case of emergency.
If any gas cylinder develops a leak that cannot be stopped, tag it out and move it to an isolated area outdoors. Get immediate assistance from the supplier.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.