Handling Gas Cylinders
Toolbox talk for week ending 1-20-12
HANDLING GAS CYLINDERS
How many of you realize how dangerous gas cylinders can be? Let me give you an example.
A workman was unloading cylinders from a delivery truck. On one cylinder the valve was not protected by a cover. The workman rolled this cylinder to the hydraulic tailgate lift. Just as he stepped onto the tailgate, the cylinder slipped from his grasp and fell. The valve struck the ground and broke off. The full cylinder shot up like a rocket and smashed the workman's face as it headed for the wild blue yonder. The cylinder was found a quarter of a mile away from the job! The workman died a few hours later in a hospital. Cylinders have been known to plow through brick walls.
BEFORE MOVING CYLINDERS
Check the protective valve cover. The cap should be in place and secure. Never use this cover to lift the cylinder. Be sure the valve is closed. (Also, be sure the valves are closed when work is finished or cylinders are empty.) Never move cylinders when regulators are attached unless the cylinders are secured in a cylinder truck. Otherwise, remove the regulator and put on a protective valve cap. Regulators have a nasty habit of breaking off if they are bumped hard. If cylinders are frozen together during cold weather, the safest way to thaw them loose without damaging them is to use warm (not boiling) water. Never use pry bars for this job.
WHEN MOVING CYLINDERS
Move cylinders by slightly tilting them, then rolling them on the bottom edges. Take care not to let them drop or strike other cylinders or objects. Never use choker slings or magnets to hoist cylinders, since the chance of the cylinder failing is great. Hoist cylinders by using a cradle or pallet, making sure the cylinders are secure before the hoist. The workman we mentioned earlier probably didn't have a firm grip on the cylinder when it slipped. Perhaps his hands or gloves were greasy or oily. This mistake cost him his life. Don't you make the same mistake. Keep a firm grip on cylinders all of the time.
If cylinders are close to welding or cutting operations, place a fire resistant shield between the cylinders and these operations. In that way sparks, hot slag or flames won't be able to reach them. To keep standing cylinders from being knocked over, chain or tie them to a column or to something else that's secure. This goes for both full and empty cylinders. Even an empty cylinder can cause a lot of damage if it falls on you. Take the same precautions when handling empty cylinders that you would with full ones. The reason? A cylinder you may think is empty could be full. And the excuse "I didn't know it was loaded" is a poor one. When using different types of gas, segregate cylinders containing one kind of gas from another.
DON'T LET CYLINDER ACCIDENTS SKY- ROCKET
When handled or stored incorrectly, a cylinder can go up like a rocket. And, as we have seen, it not only can cause property damage, but death. Use common sense and good judgment, and keep cylinder accidents down.
Date Posted: January 20, 2012