Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory
Compressed gases are commonly used in laboratory operations. Yet, these gases present real hazards. They can lead to fires and explosions, toxic contaminations that adversely affect the health of workers, and even widespread public health emergencies that may lead to an evacuation. Laboratory employees are responsible for using these gases safely. This means not only understanding the qualities and hazards of the gases themselves but also learning the proper procedures for handling, using, and storing the cylinders containing these gases. This online course enables trainees to recognize the hazards, access information about specific gases, use compressed gases safely, and safely transport, handle, and store cylinders.
Why “Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory” Matters:
While compressed gases are an essential component of some laboratory operations, they also can be truly dangerous. Incidents such as these have occurred far too often in laboratories and other workplaces:
An employee was killed when a cylinder turned into a rocket after the cylinder’s valve was knocked off. As the gas escaped at the point of the missing valve, it propelled the cylinder out of control and right at the employee.
Another employee suffocated after entering a space filled with nitrogen from a leaking cylinder. Gases can fill a space and displace oxygen. Some industries even use gases, such as nitrogen, for the specific purpose of displacing oxygen.
- In another case, employees were injured and the facility was damaged when an acetylene cylinder heated up and exploded. Cylinders can explode or leak when they become damaged or are exposed to extreme weather conditions.
This course addresses these key points:
- Always store and secure cylinders properly.
- Handle and move cylinders safely.
- Check for proper labels.
- Know the hazards.