Care and Use of Compressed Gas Cylinders

Care and Use of Compressed Gas Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders have many uses around the rig, such as charging accumulator bottles, charging mud pump bladders, welding or cutting, etc.  Although compressed gas cylinders appear to be very sturdy, mishandling can create a dangerous situation.

Cylinder Hazards: 

  1. Many cylinders contain high pressure and can become projectiles if the valve is broken off.
  2. Cylinders can contain materials which may be incompatible with certain metals or hydrocarbons (for example, oxygen and hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide and iron).
  3. Cylinders may contain flammable or toxic materials.
  4. Oxygen will react with hydrocarbons to spontaneously ignite.
  5. Equipment and fittings can be over-pressured.

Use, Handling and Storing:

  1. Cylinders should have proper labeling on them indicating the potential hazard as well as contents of the cylinder.
  2. Cylinders containing oxygen, acetylene or other fuel gas are not to be taken into confined spaces.
  3. Always attach the proper regulator before using gas from the cylinder.
  4. Unless you are sure of your provider, verify the contents of the cylinder before using.
  5. Do not charge compensation bladders with oxygen or flammable gasses. Use nitrogen or other inert gas for this purpose.
  6. Handle cylinders carefully. They must not be handled roughly, dropped or knocked around.
  7. When using a crane or other type of hoist to move compressed gas cylinders, use a basket or other device that is designed to hoist cylinders.
  8. Protective caps should be placed on both full and empty cylinders while they are being moved or transported.
  9. Never use the protective cap for lifting or handling cylinders.
  10. All cylinders should be kept upright with the valve end up and secured to prevent falling. They should be secured upright at all times.
  11. Store compressed gas cylinders out of the weather.
  12. Secure cylinder bottoms off the ground to protect them from rusting.
  13. A leaky cylinder should never be used. Mark leaky cylinders “Danger—Leak—Do Not Use.”
  14. An acetylene cylinder valve should be opened no more than one and one half turns of the spindle.
  15. Never use a flame to test for leaks. Use soapy water.
  16. Do not use grease or oil as a lubricant on valves or attachments to oxygen cylinders.
  17. Smoking and other ignition sources are prohibited around stored cylinders.
  18. Stored oxygen cylinders should be separated from fuel gas cylinders or combustible materials (especially oil or grease) by a minimum distance of 20 feet or by a noncombustible barrier at least 5 feet high.
  19. Never use oxygen for compressed air.
  20. Never use oxygen for starting any type of motor, or for blowing out lines that may have contained oil or petroleum products.
  21. Never use the oxygen from the welding oxygen bottles for breathing air.
  22. Never use cylinders as rollers to move heavy equipment, material, etc.