1. Know the contents of a cylinder and be familiar with the properties of that gas. Never use a cylinder which cannot be positively identified; cylinder color coding varies among gas vendors and is an unreliable identifier of cylinder contents.
2. All cylinders in operation or not, must always be firmly secured by an adequate bench- or wall-mounted cylinder clamp or chain. Keep in mind that breakage of the valve body on a compressed gas cylinder can easily transform the cylinder into a “torpedo” capable of going trough concrete walls!
3. When ordering new gas cylinders, consider purchasing gases in refillable containers. The disposal costs of empty containers often offset the increased initial cost of having to purchase a larger amount of gas.
4. Upon receipt of a new cylinder from the vendor immediately check the cylinder valve for leaks with a soap solution. Leaks in cylinders should promptly be reported to the shop personnel and corrected.
5. When installing a new cylinder, write your name on the cylinder information tag and attach it to the valve stem.
6. Use cylinders only with matched connectors and proper Compressed Gas Association (CGA) regulator. Never install cylinder adapters on a regulator. Teflon tape must never be used on any CGA cylinder valve fitting.
7. Oxygen regulators should be used only on oxygen tanks. Contamination of oxygen regulators with the oil present in other gases can result in a serious explosion hazard when the regulator is again used for oxygen.
8. Leak test all connections to a cylinder with a soap solution. CAUTION! Any gas, regardless of its health hazard may cause asphyxiation by displacing oxygen.
9. Pressure-relief devices protecting equipment attached to cylinders of flammable, toxic, or otherwise hazardous gases should be vented to an exhaust duct or fume hood.
10. When not in use, the regulators on cylinders should be depressurized. If the cylinder is not to be used for a long time, the regulator must be removed. Never leave partly assembled apparatus attached to gas cylinders. Never attempt to refill a cylinder.
When storing or moving a cylinder, always attach the safety cap securely to protect the valve stem, and transport gas cylinders of size 2 or larger only on a specifically designed wheeled cart. Do Not use a regular hand which has no chain or strap to secure the cylinder.
12. Cylinders should be located in the lab so that the cylinder valve is accessible at all times.
The main cylinder valve should be closed as soon as it is no longer necessary that it be open (i.e., it should never be left open when the equipment is unattended or not operating.) When storing or moving a cylinder, have the cap in place to protect the valve stem and never expose cylinders to temperatures higher than 50 Centigrade.
13. Cylinders of compressed gases must be handled as high energy sources and therefore as potential explosives. Cylinder valves should be opened slowly. Never tamper with any part of a valve such as the safety relief or packing nuts.
14. A cylinder should never be emptied to a pressure lower than 172kPa (25 psig): leave a slight pressure to keep contaminants out and notify the vendor with a note if draw-down occurs. Empty cylinders should not be refilled by anyone except the gas supplier.
Remove the empty cylinder regulator and replace the valve cap. Keep the empty cylinder chained until pickup by the gas vendor. Be sure that a cylinder tag is attached and indicates the proper status of the cylinder (full, partially full, empty).
15. Cylinder discharge lines should be equipped with approved check valves to prevent inadvertent contamination of cylinders that are connected to a closed system where the possibility of flow reversal exists. Sucking back is particularly troublesome in the case of gases used as reactants in a closed system. If there is a possibility that a cylinder has been contaminated, it should be so labeled and returned to the supplier.
16. When ordering toxic or flammable gases, whenever possible request a Flow Restrictor cylinder Valve. The FRV orifice considerably reduces the full-open leak rate in event of a major leak (e.g., regulator diaphragm failure).