Gas Cylinders


Gas cylinders can be one of the most dangerous items in a lab if not properly stored or in the event of a fire. If they fall over and their valve is knocked out of place they become missiles with enough power to smash through concrete walls. Depending on the gas stored they can be an explosion hazard if stored next to incompatible gases, if they are not properly grounded, or if a fire occurs.


  • When changing gas cylinders make sure the regulator is attached properly and no leaks are occurring
  • Always turn a gas cylinder off using the valve at the top of the cylinder – DO NOT use the regulator to turn off the gas flow
  • Keep the valve in the closed position when not in use
  • Follow the safety instructions provided by Praxiar or on the SDS sheet for the particular gas contained in the cylinder


  • Cylinders must be stored at least 10 feet from the exit to a room and cylinders must be chained or strapped securely so they cannot fall or be knocked over
  • Cylinders should be strapped in place by individual holders; do not use one chain to hold several cylinders together
  • Always store upright, never laying down (even with small cylinders)
  • Cylinders with flammable gases should be grounded
  • Cylinders, like all chemicals should be sorted by the types of gases they contain. DO NOT store flammables and oxidizers together. Do not store incompatible gases beside each other


  • Never move a cylinder without the cylinder’s valve cover firmly in place. Never move with a regulator attached
  • Always use a proper cylinder cart to move gas cylinders. Never roll or drag them into place
    • There is a cylinder cart in ESB B-05 which EAS personnel can use to more gas cylinders. Please return the cart once you are finished

If there is a problem with a gas cylinder in the lab immediately advise the lab PI of the situation. This could be:

  • a faulty valve
  • a sudden gas release
  • a collision
  • a fire
  • an explosion in the room
  • the cylinder has rolled off of a vehicle
  • a chemical leak or spill in the lab that affects the cylinder

Contact Praxair at 1-800-363-0042.  Praxair will either send out trained personnel to deal with the situation or the Fire Department will be called in to vent the gas off depending upon the type of emergency.