Safe Handling of Industrial Gas Cylinders

DO use mechanical aids (ramps, trolleys, forklifts, scissor lifts) in preference to direct manual handling of cylinders.

DO remove any connected equipment (e.g. regulator) AND refit any supplied valve protection cap and/or valve outlet gas tight cap/plug prior to moving cylinders.

DO ensure cylinders are positively secured to mechanical lifting/ handling devices prior to movement.

DO familiarise yourself with and observe appropriate safe lifting techniques/postures prior to manually handling heavy or large gas cylinders.

DO assess the load weight and dimensions before attempting any lift.

DO use suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) – wear safety footwear and leather gloves to protect against falling/slipping cylinders crushing hands or feet during moving.

DO ensure a positive hand grip prior to commencing a manual lift.

DO ensure that loads are equally shared when attempting two-person lifts.

DO note environmental conditions prior to handling cylinders – wet, hot or cold cylinders may diminish the quality of hand grip and footing may be compromised.

DO NOT bear-hug cylinders to affect a lift.

DO NOT lift or lower cylinders where the operators hands are above shoulder height or below mid-thigh height.

DO NOT edge-roll cylinders up or down steps of 250 mm or higher.

DO NOT edge-roll cylinders over discontinuous or soft surfaces.

DO NOT attempt to catch or restrain a falling cylinder.

DO NOT attempt to handle cylinders if you are fatigued, physically compromised or under the adverse influence of medication or alcohol.

DO NOT drop cylinders as a method of transfer – this may seriously damage the cylinder or its valve, resulting in their failure and product release.

Opening or Closing of Cylinder Valves

OPEN by turning the hand wheel or cylinder valve key anticlockwise. Only use reasonable force.

CLOSE by turning the hand wheel or cylinder valve key clockwise. Only use reasonable force.

When in use, cylinder valves used in the fully open position may become stuck in this open position.

To prevent this ensure that the hand wheel or cylinder valve key is turned back half a turn.

Pressure Relief Devices

Most cylinders or manifolded cylinder packs are fitted with a relief device.

In a situation where excess pressure is encountered, this is designed to discharge cylinder contents either completely or only discharge the excess pressure.

This is accompanied by a high pitched noise.

There are three types of commonly used pressure relief devices:

  • Burst disc (most common)

  • Fusible plug (e.g. acetylene)

  • Pressure relief valve (e.g. LPG)

Burst Disc

In the event of overpressure, this is designed to burst, leaving an open passage for gas contents to escape completely.

For example, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) cylinders are fitted with a burst disc which operates at approximately 207 bar and is fitted on the cylinder valve.

Fusible Plug

This plug is designed to melt, releasing contents completely. e.g. Acetylene cylinders are fitted with fusible plugs which melt at approximately 100°C.

Pressure Relief Valves

This valve is designed to relieve excess pressure and close again after relieving the excess pressure.

For example, LPG cylinders are fitted with pressure relief valves which operate at approximately 26 bar.

Safety Tip

Cylinders can be dangerous and can release contents given the right circumstances.

Elgas recommends proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) be worn at all times, consult your Occupational Health & Safety officer.

In the event your cylinder activates any of these devices

contact Elgas on 1800 819 783 and Emergency Services ‘000’.



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