Q:

How should oxygen cylinders be stored?

A:

Federal and state guidelines offer regulations related to the storage of oxygen cylinders, which state that the cylinders should be racked and kept away from combustible agents. Oxygen cylinders are used in industrial, educational, medical and consumer areas and should always be handled with care.

Oxygen cylinders are hazardous because of the pressure inside them. They should always be stored in an upright and secure position since a fall could damage the tank, could cause a rupture, or could cause the tank to become an airborne hazard itself. The oxygen inside the cylinder may be very cold, particularly if the gas is to be used for cryogenic or freezing purposes. Such gases cause skin and other materials to become very brittle and can result in injuries that are similar to thermal burns.

Oxygen cylinders must be stored away from flammable sources as their contents could ignite. Oxygen should also not be stored in the same space with other tanks of flammable gases or liquids. Additionally, federal and state regulations provide clear guidelines for how many tanks may be stored in a single area. Individual tanks for medicinal purposes present similar hazards and should be handled in according to the same precautions.

Oxygen tanks should be stored in rooms designated for the purpose. The room should have sufficient area to move the cylinders and should be secured with locking doors. The room must meet appropriate fire ratings, ventilation requirements and construction codes. The racks used to secure both filled and empty tanks must meet similar code requirements.


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