Proper storage of gas cylinders is paramount to the safety and health of anyone using compressed gas cylinders.
Follow these simple guidelines to ensure that cylinders are guarded against damage:
- Store cylinders upright, in well-ventilated areas, and out of inclement weather
- Place cylinders in a location where they will not be subject to damage, heat, or electrical contact
- Do not store cylinders in exits or egress routes, like public hallways or other unprotected areas
- Store gases with the same hazard class in the same area
- Inert gases are compatible with all other gases and may be stored together
- Mark the storage area with proper precautionary signs, such as no smoking, fuel gas storage, or oxidizer storage
- Properly secure tanks to a stable object, using chains, straps, or cages
- Fix or secure tanks at approximately 2/3 the height of the cylinder – secured above the midpoint but below the shoulder
- Cylinders approved stands or wall brackets may ensure less than 18″ tall
- Never store acetylene cylinders on their sides
- Completely close the valves, and keep the valve protection caps on cylinders when not in use or attached to a system
- Keep oxygen cylinders at least 20 ft. away from all flammable, combustible, or incompatible substances
- Store empty cylinders separately from full cylinders
- Ensure that empty tanks are labeled or tagged, indicating that the tank is “empty” and that the valves are closed with the protective cover in place.
OSHA Standard Interpretations – Cart Storage:
OSHA has issued several Standard Interpretations stating that failure to comply with the storage requirements under either the General Industry or Construction Standard would be considered de minimis (no penalty and generally no citation) regardless of the period of time in which the cylinders are on the cart if the following parameters are met:
1. No more than a single acetylene cylinder and a single oxygen cylinder are on a cylinder cart. The cylinder cart must be specifically designed to hold/carry oxygen and acetylene cylinders in the upright position. The cylinders must be securely stored in the cart (such as by straps, chains, or other securing devices).
2. The cart is on a firm, level surface.
3. The cart is not in an area where there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of being struck by vehicles, equipment, or materials (such as in a pathway for vehicles on a construction site).
4. Both cylinders have valves closed with protection caps on or connected to a properly functioning regulator.