Top tips: Gas cylinder handling and storage


By Leisa Andersen, Content Marketing Manager, Storemasta
Tuesday, 11 April, 2023

Top tips: Gas cylinder handling and storage

Gas cylinders are used for a range of applications, from heating to welding and medical purposes. However, it’s important to remember that these commonly found chemicals are classed as dangerous goods.

When working with gas cylinders, it’s vital not only to be aware of the hazards associated with these cylinders, but also that workers are in an environment where these hazards are being effectively controlled.

Toxic gas leaks, flammable gas explosions and projectile cylinder accidents are just some of the hazards that present themselves if compressed gases aren’t handled, stored or transported in a compliant way.

So, how can organisations protect their people from gas cylinder hazards? Here are some simple tips that can help businesses to stay safe and compliant.

Protect gas cylinders from impact damage

Due to their elongated design, gas cylinders are prone to toppling or being knocked over. However, care must be taken to ensure that no damage occurs to the cylinder or the valve.

If the gas bottle valve is damaged, the sudden release of pressure could cause the cylinder to become a deadly projectile. The damaged valve will also release harmful gas into the breathing zone of workers, which could result in a range of health issues from asphyxiation to toxic gas poisoning.

Gas cylinders can be protected from impact damage by using compliant handling and storage equipment that keeps cylinders in the upright position, with restraints. It’s also a good idea to train and re-train staff on how to safely work with gas cylinders so that health, physical and physiochemical hazards are avoided.

Choose compliant gas cylinder storage equipment

Gas cylinders should be stored according to the guidelines of AS 4332 – The storage and handling of gases in cylinders. Compliant storage will meet a range of requirements necessary for maintaining safety at a worksite.

These gas store construction requirements include key safety measures including a non-combustible construction, sufficient ventilation, cylinder restraints and the applicable dangerous goods signage. Many businesses often choose gas storage cages, as these purpose-built storage solutions are cost-effective and compliant to Australian Standards.

Make sure that staff never leave cylinders on benches, floors or in other areas of the workplace which aren’t deemed to be compliant storage. It’s also helpful to develop a system where gas cylinder deliveries are immediately taken to the appropriate storage area, as this will minimise the risk of the gases being incorrectly stored or handled by untrained staff.

Select and maintain correct PPE

Selecting the right PPE for each specific job task that involves gas cylinders is essential. The PPE selected will always be determined by conducting a risk assessment that includes consulting the safety data sheets (SDSs) for each of the gases being used.

The SDS will have a section that will outline the PPE that is required. For example, a toxic gas cylinder may require PPE such as overalls, chemical goggles, elbow-length impervious gloves and a full face shield.

Organisations are also obligated under WHS laws to maintain their PPE, so that staff are protected from chemical exposure through regular inspection, cleaning, decontamination and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

Segregate gases

When dealing with any type of gas or dangerous goods in the workplace, it is essential to be aware of the segregation requirements.

Generally, different dangerous goods classes of gases must be separated by a minimum of three metres, as these gases can react dangerously with each other.

To determine the segregation requirements for gases being used, check the safety data sheet. Employers can check the segregation chart on the Safe Work Australia website.

Keep in mind that gases must not only be separated from other classes of gases, but they must be segregated from all incompatible substances — including other onsite chemicals.


Other handy hints:

  • Check cylinders for any signs of damage before use.
  • Isolate gases from heat, ignition sources and combustible materials.
  • Regularly inspect, clean and maintain gas cylinder handling and storage equipment.
  • Conduct a risk assessment so all hazards are effectively controlled at the worksite.


Related Articles

Toxic ammonia gas 'sniffed out' by sensor

A small ammonia gas sensor that could enable safer hydrogen storage has been developed by...

Preventing accidents with thermal fluid safety protocols

How can health and safety protocols contribute to a safer and more effective work environment...

Avoiding the dangers of asbestos

Asbestos-related diseases kill more than 4000 Australians every year — 235% more than the...

  • All content Copyright © 2024 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd