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How To Work Safely With Compressed Gas

Compressed gas is commonplace across construction, manufacturing and related industries and sectors. Compressed gas cylinders pose potential risks if not handled, stored, and disposed of correctly. Hazards associated with gas cylinders range from manual handling accidents to fires from escaped flammable gas and explosions from overpressurised or damaged cylinders.

Compressed Gas Health and Safety Regulations

Work with drums and cylinders containing flammable or toxic substances must adhere to many codes of practice, legislation, and regulatory oversight. Many of the health and safety regulations surrounding work with these substances are covered in the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH).

COMAH Training

COMAH training guidelines cover an overview of using training to reduce the risks of major accidents. The guidance spans general principles, including the human factor, employee skills, and communication, through to training strategies and plans and how training is recorded. The level of training required is different for all workers. For example, decision-makers, responsible persons, and quality control staff may require more specialised training tailored to their roles.

Operating Procedure

Clear operating procedures for processes about the handling of compressed gas cylinders are essential to preventing accidents. Operating procedures should clearly state the operating process.

A good operating procedure will consider the following:

● The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)

● PPE Regulation

● Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) requirements

● A Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) study

BCGA Gas Cylinder Labelling Standards

The labelling standards outlined by the British Compressed Gas Association (BCGA) require that gas cylinders are labelled. Gas cylinder tags need to identify the contents and the safety hazards associated with the contents. As with all areas of health and safety, proper labelling and signage are essential for preventing accidents and ensuring everyone is operating with a complete picture of their surroundings and potential hazards.

Storing Compressed Gas Cylinders

When storing gas cylinders, you will need to consider; the storage location, the compatibility of the different stored materials, and ventilation. Regarding the storage location, consider how and where you will be transporting the cylinders to and from. You will need to plan safe routes and minimise the risk of collisions or other accidents. You must also use adequate means of transport, ensuring that all cylinders are appropriately secured. You must only store materials with other suitable materials.

Disposing of Compressed Gas Cylinders

You can reuse most gas cylinders. The cylinders themselves will often remain the property of the gas supplier - they will generally collect them upon request once they are empty. Alternatively, gas cylinders can be disposed of. Gas cylinders should be disposed of at a licensed waste management facility.

Safety Tags and Signs

Ensuring you have the right tools for the job is crucial to maintaining the highest safety standards and preventing accidents. At Tagtec, we provide all the safety tags and signage you need to help maintain a safe work environment. Whether you’re looking for gas cylinder tags, scaffolding tags, or need a bespoke safety sign, we have what you’re looking for.

Learn More About Health and Safety

We have a fantastic blog with useful health and safety guides to help create safer workplaces. Fire safety is crucial to all workspaces - learn more with “Everything You Need To Know About Tagging Fire Safety Equipment”. Or discover more about safely working at height with “Common Height Related Hazards and How To Avoid Them”.

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