Storing Gas Cylinders

Some gas cylinders may be large, heavy and relatively unstable due to the small base-diameter to height ratio

Gas cylinder storage

Compressed, refrigerated and/or liquefied gas cylinders shall be stored in accordance with BCGA CoP 44. Where only LPG cylinders are held, store these in accordance with Liquid Gas UK CoP 7. Medical gas cylinders must be stored according to HTMO2 guidelines (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974).

Always store cylinders appropriately

  • Store cylinders in a well-ventilated, preferably outside on a level, well-drained surface. A covered storage area may be needed for some gases (for example, medical gases), but any roof should be arranged so as not to significantly affect ventilation
  • Store cylinders vertically and secure them (with chains, etc) to prevent toppling
  • Store full and empty cylinders separately, rotating your cylinder stock holdings so the oldest cylinders are used first
  • Segregate cylinders by the property classification of the gas (flammable, inert, oxidant, and so on)
  • Ensure appropriate signage is used and is legible.

Comprehensive details of storage requirements are given in the British Compressed Gas Association CoP44. (Please check the BCGA website for the most up-to-date version).

Make yourself aware of the properties of the gases

There are specific storage requirements for certain gas cylinder products.

Storage of cryogenic, liquefied and heavier-than-air compressed gases shall only be considered after assessing and controlling the risks, including those of gases collecting in low-lying areas such as drains, basements and ducts.

BCGA Use of a partition to achieve separation distances
BCGA: Use of a partition to achieve separation distances

Medical Gas Cylinders

Medical gas cylinders should be kept in a purpose-built cylinder store which conforms to HTM02 guidance.

When designing the cylinder store a risk assessment should be carried out to ensure that the chosen location is as safe as is practicable and that any manual handling issues are engineered out at the planning stage.

As far as possible the medical gas cylinder store should:

  • Allow cylinders to be stored under cover, preferably enclosed and not subjected to extremes of temperature
  • Be kept dry, clean and well ventilated (both top and bottom)
  • Have good access for delivery vehicles and reasonably level floor areas
  • Be large enough to allow for segregation of full and empty cylinders and permit separation of different medical gases within the store
  • Be totally separate from any non-medical cylinder storage areas
  • Be sited away from storage areas containing highly flammable liquids and other combustible materials and any sources of heat or ignition
  • Have warning notices posted prohibiting smoking and naked lights within the vicinity of the store
  • Be secure enough to prevent theft and misuse.

The layout and racking within the medical gas cylinder store should;

  • Allow for strict stock rotation of full cylinders to enable the cylinders with the shortest expiry time to be used first
  • Allow large size cylinders (such as F, HX, ZX, G, and W sizes) to be stored vertically on concrete floored pens
  • Allow small size cylinders (such as C, CD, D and E sizes) to be stored horizontally on shelves (made of a material that will not damage the surface of the cylinders)
  • Allow for all ENTONOX cylinders to be stored at above 10°C for 24 hours prior to use. (Where this is not feasible, it is important to consult the ENTONOX Medical Gas Data Sheet for further information before using the cylinders).

Advice should be sought from the local authorities regarding any specific regulations pertaining to the design and location of the cylinder store.

BOC can provide assistance with the appropriate warning signs required for cylinder stores. Additional information about the layout and operation of the store is available in HTM 02. The Emergency Services should be advised of the location and contents of the cylinder store.

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