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Standard size dispense gas cylinders weigh about 16kg when empty and around 20kg when filled (depending on the gas or gas mixture), and larger cylinders can be nearly five times heavier.
Perhaps even more importantly, they are filled with gas held at high pressure and, if a cylinder discharges or ruptures there are likely to be serious consequences.
Gas cylinders must be handled and stored carefully in accordance with the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007, Chapter 4 of Part 2 and other health and safety guidelines.
Guide to manual handling procedures
|ALWAYS||keep cylinder stocks to the necessary minimum for your volume of trade|
|ALWAYS||only use cylinders filled by a reputable gas supplier who fills and regularly tests cylinders in accordance with current safety regulations|
|NEVER||fill one gas cylinder from another - this is extremely dangerous|
|NEVER||carry gas cylinders in a car or other closed vehicle|
|NEVER||connect gas cylinders to any equipment other than the primary regulator|
|NEVER||drop, throw or mishandle cylinders|
|NEVER||use cylinders for anything other than storing and delivering dispense gas|
|NEVER||oil or lubricate cylinder valves|
In the cellar
The cellar, where cylinders are stored, handled or connected, should be checked periodically to make sure it is a safe working environment.
Here are some of the safety precautions which should be observed to avoid risks to people working in the cellar:
|ALWAYS||restrict entry to the cellar, allowing only trained persons to enter and work there|
|ALWAYS||display appropriate warning signs and safety procedures|
|ALWAYS||ensure the cellar is adequately ventilated|
|ALWAYS||clean up spillages immediately to prevent slipping hazards|
|ALWAYS||ensure the cellar has adequate lighting|
|ALWAYS||secure cylinders safely, whether in use or not|
|NEVER||stand cylinders on uneven floors. The cylinder may fall, causing injury or damage|
|NEVER||obstruct access to or from the cellar, which can prevent escape in the event of an emergency|
Safe handling of dispense gas cylinders
Incorrect handling of heavy, awkward cylinders can cause personal injury; particularly to the back, neck or arms. The risks involved in moving cylinders will differ depending on the nature of the cellar.
In underground cellars, manoeuvring cylinders in the drop of a stair requires special consideration.
Large cylinders should only be stored in underground cellars where there is suitable access and lifting equipment to move or handle them safely.
|ALWAYS||use protective gloves and footwear when handling cylinders|
|ALWAYS||use suitable equipment such a trolley or mechanical lift for moving large cylinders|
|ALWAYS||carry cylinders close to the body|
|ALWAYS||secure cellar flaps during delivery of cylinders and protect the opening with barriers|
|NEVER||lift a large cylinder; this can cause muscle strain or back injury|
|NEVER||lift cylinders above chest height|
|NEVER||reach for and lift cylinders from behind stacks of crates or kegs; this can cause strain or injury|
Manual handling is also involved in the movement of casks, kegs, crates, cases and other materials. You should ensure that staff moving such objects are trained to:
- use correct techniques for lifting heavy objects
- consider the weight and balance of loads
- reduce the size or weight of the load wherever possible for easier and safer handling
Storing unused cylinders
|ALWAYS||store and secure the cylinder in an upright position|
|ALWAYS||return all empties to the gas supplier|
|ALWAYS||store full cylinders in an area away from cylinders in use|
|NEVER||store cylinders where they may come into contact with water|
|NEVER||store next to a direct heat source; e.g. radiators, coolers, ice machines etc.|
|NEVER||stack objects in front of cylinders. Reaching over objects to lift cylinders can cause back injury|
Storing cylinders which are in use
|ALWAYS||secure cylinders in an upright position with a chain|
|ALWAYS||connect to a primary regulator valve, either directly or through a high pressure hose|
|ALWAYS||keep away from sources of heat|
|ALWAYS||check the cylinder label before using it. Ensure that the correct gas mixture is connected to the line (BOC Sureserve labels are colour coded for easy identification)|
|NEVER||touch a frosted cylinder. Frosting usually indicates a rapid release of gas|
|NEVER||try to unscrew the valve fittings on the cylinder|
Using a trolley for moving several cylinders reduces the risk of injury and saves time.
Carrying a cylinder close to the body reduces the stress on the back.