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Compressed Gas Tank Safety Plan

It is the policy of Community College of Rhode Island to take precautions to eliminate potential hazards in the workplace. The purpose of the Compressed Gas Safety Program is to provide the hazards associated with compressed gases and outline the steps to take to ensure employees who work with, or around compressed gases are not exposed to hazards; and to provide procedures for common compressed gas work duties to minimize exposure in accordance with the OSHA Hazardous Materials, Compressed Gas standards (29 CFR 1910.101); Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations; and Compressed Gas Association (CGA) guidelines. Only permitted, trained, and authorized employees are to handle, store, use, and inspect compressed gases and equipment at any time. This policy is applicable to daily users and those who only occasionally have cause to use the equipment.

This written Compressed Gas Plan describes methods and practices for care and use of compressed gases that can be read and understood by all managers, supervisors, and employees at Community College of Rhode Island. This written plan is intended to be used to:

  • Create an awareness of the hazards among our workforce;
  • Standardize procedures for use and care of the equipment;
  • Provide a consistent format for training employees on the proper procedures to be used;
  • Minimize the possibility of injury or harm to our employees; and
  • Demonstrate Community College of Rhode Island compliance with OSHA's compressed gas requirements.

Compressed gas cylinders can present a variety of hazards due to their pressure and or contents. This program covers requirements which must be followed for the use of all compressed gasses. In addition, this program covers steps to take for hazardous compressed gases including controls, work practices, leak testing and the use of personal protective equipment. CCRI’s Compressed gas program outlines acceptable storage, use and handling of gases in pressurized portable containers.

Administrative Duties

The EHS Manager is responsible for developing and maintaining this written Compressed Gas Plan. The EHS Manager is responsible for all facets of the plan and has full authority to make necessary decisions to ensure the success of this plan. The EHS Manager is also qualified, by appropriate training and experience that is commensurate with the complexity of the plan, to administer or oversee our compressed gas safety program and conduct the required evaluations.

Copies of this written Compressed Gas Plan are kept in the office of the Physical Plant Director, the Chemical Safety Coordinator and the Department of Safety and Security and Campus Police.

If, after reading this plan, you find that improvements can be made, please contact the Chemical Safety Coordinator or one of the Physical Plant Directors. We encourage all suggestions because we are committed to creating a safe workplace for all our employees, and a safe and effective compressed gas safety program is an important component of our overall safety plan. We strive for clear understanding, safe work practices, and involvement in the program from every level of the College.

Lists of Compressed Gases and Equipment

The compressed gases used at this company include the following:

  • Acetylene
  • Air
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Helium
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen

Liquified propane is stored outside the buildings at all campuses in stationary tanks and in the vehicle garages in portable tanks. The compressed gas equipment used includes air testing equipment, compressed gas, cylinders, laboratory instruments, portable tanks, pressure regulators, resuscitation training equipment, and welding torches.

Personal Protective Equipment

We have assessed the hazards associated with the compressed gases and equipment at the Community College of Rhode Island and have taken measures to eliminate or reduce their presence with engineering and administrative controls. Where these controls were not enough for employee protection, CCRI provides all necessary personal protective equipment according to our personal protective equipment (PPE) program. Shatterproof safety goggles must be used whenever any connection is made or broken to a compressed gas cylinder or valve. Fabric or leather work gloves must be worn whenever a compressed gas cylinder is moved or transported.

Inspection Procedures

The Physical Plant Directors and the Chemical Safety Coordinator are qualified to determine that compressed gas cylinders are in a safe condition to the extent that can be determined by visual inspection. Inspections of cylinders are conducted quarterly.

Our inspections are conducted as prescribed by the following, as applicable:

  • 49 CFR 171 - 180 (Hazardous Materials Regulations under the Department of Transportation).
  • Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet C-6-1968 (Standards for Visual Inspection of Steel Compressed Gas Cylinders).
  • Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet C-8-1962 (Standard for Requalification of DOT-3HT Seamless Steel Cylinders).

If a cylinder is found to be unfit in its present condition, then the Physical Plant Directors or the Chemical Safety Coordinator must determine whether it can be repaired or must be. If a cylinder is repaired, it can only go back into service if the defect is corrected as specified according to the requirements listed above.

Handling Procedures

The primary responsibility for the proper handling and use of a compressed gas cylinder rests with the department in which it will be used. We follow the safe handling procedures found in the CGA pamphlet series, including the P-1-1991 pamphlet. All employees who handle and use compressed gases are required to:

  • Identify a gas and its dangers before using it; look for this information on labels, SDSs, and cylinder markings and not use a cylinder whose contents are not known.
  • Examine cylinders as soon they are received; if signs of damage or leakage are detected, move the cylinder to a safe, isolated area and return it to the supplier as soon as possible.
  • Use only regulators, pressure relief devices, valves, hoses, and other auxiliary equipment designed for the specific container and compressed gas/cryogenic liquid to be used.
  • Use shatterproof safety goggles when making or breaking any connection to a cylinder,
  • Not interchange equipment between different types of gases.
  • Make sure valves, hoses, connectors, and regulators are in good condition; do not use cylinders if equipment is not in good condition.
  • Use pressure relief devices and safety devices to help maintain cylinder or system pressure at the desired levels. (Exceeding the desired pressure could damage the cylinder or system.)
  • Check to see if regulators, hoses, and gauges can be used with different gases; always assume they cannot.
  • Never open valves until regulators are drained of gas and pressure-adjusting devices are released; point outlets when opening cylinders away from people and sources of ignition, such as sparks or flames; open valves slowly; use only supplier-recommended wrenches on valves without hand wheels; never use wrenches on hand wheels.
  • Not tamper with connections and not force connections together.
  • Not hammer valves open or closed.
  • Not drop, bang, slide, clank, or roll cylinders on their sides.
  • Not let cylinders fall or have things fall on them.
  • Not lift a cylinder by its cap unless using hand trucks so designed.
  • Use carts or other material handling equipment to move cylinders; use ropes and chains to move a cylinder only if the cylinder has special lugs to accommodate this.
  • Keep cylinders secured and upright.
  • Never secure cylinders to conduit carrying electrical wiring.
  • Know accident and first aid procedures.

Transport Procedures

The primary responsibility for the proper transporting of a compressed gas cylinder rests with the department in which it will be used. A hand truck is available in each maintenance area for transporting gas cylinders safely. We follow the safe storage procedures found in the CGA pamphlet series, including the P-1-1991 pamphlet. Our transport procedures for compressed gases include the following:

  • Compressed gas cylinders may be moved by individuals from the receiving or maintenance department or a laboratory paraprofessional who has received the training outlined at the end of this policy. Students may not transport compressed gas cylinders.
  • Compressed gas tanks must be moved from one part of the building to another on a hand cart. Never drag a cylinder or roll a cylinder.
  • When compressed gas cylinders, whether they are full or empty, are moved by elevator, the transporter must be accompanied by a Campus Police officer who will commandeer the elevator and prevent others from entering it. A Campus Police officer escort is also required when transporting a cylinder through a public corridor form one part of a building to another. (An officer is not required at the Knight Campus when moving gas cylinders form one chemistry or biology laboratory to another in the same corridor.)
  • Never leave a cylinder unattended in a public place. Make sure the recipient is present to receive it.
  • Never leave a cylinder unsecured. When delivered to its user, a cylinder must either be secured by the transporting person or handed over to a qualified user who will secure it.
  • When transporting compressed gas cylinders by motorized vehicle, be sure the vehicle is adequately equipped to haul compressed gases safely. Stop the engine while loading or unloading flammable compressed gases.

Storage Procedures

The primary responsibility for properly storing a compressed gas cylinder rests with the department in which it will be used. We follow the safe storage procedures found in the CGA pamphlet series, including the P-1-1991 pamphlet. Our storage procedures for compressed gases include the following:

  • Store cylinders only in a definite, designated, labeled storage area.
  • Store cylinders upright.
  • Always keep the steel protective cap screwed on. This step reduces the chance that a blow to the valve will allow gas to escape.
  • Group cylinders by types of gas.
  • Store full and empty cylinders apart.
  • Label empty cylinders and those meant for return to the supplier.
  • Store gases so that old stock is removed and used first.
  • Secure cylinders with chains or cables to keep them from falling over
  • Store compressed gas containers in dry, well-ventilated areas away from exits and stairways. If stored out of doors, containers should be off the ground and out of extremely hot or cold environments.
  • Do not store compressed gas containers in high pedestrian and vehicle traffic areas.
  • Store oxygen cylinders at least 20 feet from flammables or combustibles or separate them by a 5-foot, fire-resistant barrier.
  • Keep oil and grease away from oxygen cylinders, valves, and hoses.
  • If your hands, gloves, or clothing are oily, do not handle oxygen cylinders.
  • Make sure fire extinguishers near the storage area are appropriate for gases stored there.
  • Post signs stating the name(s) of gas present and NO SMOKING signs where gases are stored.

Usage Procedures

The primary responsibility for properly using a compressed gas cylinder rests with the department in which it will be used. We follow the safe usage procedures found in the CGA pamphlet series, including the P-1-1991 pamphlet. Our employees must follow these procedures for using compressed gases:

  • Secure all cylinders as soon as they are delivered to the area where they will be used.
  • Never remove a cap from an unsecured cylinder.
  • Remove any leaking containers to a well-ventilated area and post a warning of the hazard.
  • Shut a leaking valve and tighten the valve gland or nut. Then try opening the valve; if it still leaks, close it and tag the container "unserviceable".
  • Make sure labels are legible before using containers; otherwise, return containers to supplier.
  • Do not misuse containers (i.e., use them for support or use them as rollers).
  • Keep containers away from fire, sparks, and electricity.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in the vicinity of compressed gas containers.
  • Do not subject containers to extreme heat or cold.
  • Never attempt to work with a toxic compressed gas such as hydrogen cyanide. Such gases require the use of SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) according to 29 CFR 1910.134. CCRI employees are not trained in SCBA use and are forbidden to use such devices.
  • Contact the manufacturer or supplier with questions about safe handling.
  • Always keep removable caps and valve outlet caps/plugs on containers except when connecting to dispensing equipment.
  • Do not use oxygen and compressed air interchangeably. They are not the same.
  • Do not use a pressure regulator for more than one kind of gas.
  • Comply with ANSI Z49.1 when using or storing gas containers for welding and cutting and other similar activities.
  • When empty, close and return cylinders. Empty cylinders must be marked MT or Empty.
  • Be sure valves are closed when not using the container and before returning containers.
  • Properly label returning containers.
  • Do not refill non-refillable containers once they are empty.

Compressed Gas Emergency Procedures

Refer to CCRI’s written Hazardous Substance Release Emergency Response Plan for employee escape procedures and assignments during a compressed gas emergency. View the Hazardous Substance/Hazardous Waste Release Contingency Plan. In case of an emergency involving compressed gases, CCRI employees are directed to leave the area immediately and notify the Department of Security and Safety and Campus Police. The Department of Security and Safety and Campus Police will evaluate the situation and decide what further action is necessary.

Training Program

The Physical Plant Directors and the Chemical Safety Coordinator are responsible for training personnel who will handle, store or use compressed gases. Under no circumstances will an employee handle, store, or use a compressed gas until he/she has successfully completed this company's compressed gas training program. This includes all new workers who will handle, store, and use compressed gases, regardless of claimed previous experience.

Individuals in the following departments may receive training: Biology, Central Stores, Chemistry, Respiratory Therapy, Clinical Laboratory Technology, Dental Health, Industrial Technology, Maintenance, Physics, Receiving, Campus Police.

The Personnel Department, the Physical Plant Directors and the Department chairs are responsible for identifying all new employees and making arrangements with department management to schedule the instruction for those employees previously identified in this policy as needing training.

General training elements include the following:

  • Compressed gases and equipment at the College.
  • Hazards of compressed gases and equipment.
  • Personal protective equipment. Inspection procedures.
  • Handling procedures.
  • Storage procedures.
  • Usage procedures.
  • Gas-specific safety procedures.
  • Compressed gas emergency procedures.


The Chemical Safety Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records of cylinder inspections and maintenance. These records are kept in the office of the Chemical Safety Coordinator.

The Chemical Safety Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records of individuals trained and certified for handling, storage, and use of compressed gases and equipment. These records are kept in the office of the Chemical Safety Coordinator.

Program Evaluation

Although we may not be able to eliminate all problems, we try to eliminate as many as possible to improve employee protection and encourage employee safe practices. Therefore, the Chemical Safety Coordinator is responsible for evaluating and updating this written plan. The evaluation will include a review of reported accidents, as well as near misses, to identify areas where additional safety measures need to be taken.

The CSC will also conduct a periodic review to determine the effectiveness of the program. This review may include:

  • A walk-through of the facility, and
  • Interviews with employees to determine whether they are familiar with the requirements of this program and if safety measures are being practiced.