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Compressed Gas

safety logoNo toxic gases at Hopkins. Period.
Double chained to walls at 1/3 and 2/3 height.
Please include on chemical inventory.


For Dry Ice and Liquid Nitrogen see Cryogens

harmony icon for compressed gasOrder gas cylinders with Barbara Compton, x224.
Deliveries are usually on Wednesdays, unless there is a holiday.

Cylinders are rented not owned and we do pay a monthly rent on them.
If you don't need the cylinder, it is cheaper for your lab to turn it in than to keep it forever.

TOXIC gases are not possible at Hopkins.

See EH&S, if necessary to start the unimaginable amount of paper work and permissions necessary. [which will take many months, to do and can't be rushed.]

Gas cylinders are dangerous for several reasons:

A) Contents themselves may be dangerous:

       Fire or explosive hazards - acetylene or propane
       Asphyxiation - gasses lacking oxygen can displace normal air and cause suffocation
       Oxygen - can start or help support fires
       Toxic or corrosive - chlorine for instance (not at Hopkins!)

B) Explosive during a fire - heat from flames causes tank to burst.

C) During an earthquake - cylinder falls and top is sheared off.

   >>>>> Cylinder can proceed through three walls before stopping. [even true for scuba tanks]


problem securing of gas cylnder by chain a 1/3 and 2/3 height

Be sure and include all gasses in your chemical inventory.

  Keep cylinder cap in place except when using.

  Always cap during long term storage.

Double chained at 1/3 and 2/3 height (straps not allowed)

NOTE: Storing on portable carts is not allowed, only for transport.

More Information: Cal/OSHA regulations online at

Purchasing / Receiving Gases

  • Select least hazardous gases that will work

  • Purchase ONLY necessary quantities

  • Select gases w/ returnable containers

  • When receiving:

    • Visually inspect for damage

    • Ensure valve cover in on

    • Check for proper labeling


  • BEFORE handling, ensure valve cap is secure

  • Transport using a suitable cart

  • Never rely on valve cap as a handhold

  • Always take the safest route

  • Get help rather than suffer injury

  • NOT in an elevator you are in.
    Press go on the elevator and LEAVE before the door closes.
    Use the stairs to get to the same floor or have someone else there already.

Safe Storage

  • Protected from heat and passing or falling objects

  • Well - ventilated

  • Isolation from highly flammable materials (>20ft)

  • Separation from incompatibles

  • Restrict access to compressed gas cylinders

  • Away from main access/egress points

  • Avoid forming part of an electrical circuit

  • Attach valve cap when compressed gas cylinder not in service

  • Stored upright with metal restraints at 1/3 and 2/3 height

  • Max of 2 compressed gas cylinder per set of chains

  • Cylinder bench clamps NOT allowed

Safe Use of Compressed Gas Cylinders

  • DO NOT tamper with stem and valves

  • NEVER use damaged regulators, connectors, etc.

  • If in use, hand wheel must be attached

  • Close valve when work is finished or tank is empty

  • Label empty cylinders

  • Ensure safe exhaust for purging and pressure relief for toxic, flammable or corrosive gases

  • Never use cylinders as rollers or supports

Special Precautions for

  • Oxidizing gases [like oxygen] - rapid burning, explosion with other materials

  • Cryogenic liquids [LN2] - freezing, asphyxiation, LO2 formation, see Cryogens

Special permission needed for:

  • Acetylene [in shop only] - flammable, explosive

  • Corrosive gases [fluorine, chlorine, etc.] - lethal! [Not at Hopkins!]

  • Toxic gases [CO and NO] - lethal! [Not at Hopkins!]

Research Apparatus/Systems

  • Compressed gas cylinder shall be equipped with connections complying with ANSI B57.1-1965

  • Label all gas lines

  • Remember safety devices (check valves, flow restrictors)

  • Pressure gauges

  • Select proper contruction materials

  • Leak test system before start up

Emergency Procedures


  • Guidance on emergency procedures:

Special Precautions/Rules

  • Remember to inventory ALL compressed gas sources, including spray cans, cylinders, compressors, etc.

  • Keep spray cans away from Bunsen burners and other heat sources