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Compressed Gas Safety

gas explosion

Compressed gases have been defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as a hazardous material, or “a substance or material which has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce”.  Hundreds of different materials are packaged in compressed gas cylinders, including atmospheric gases, fuel gases, refrigerant gases and poison gases.

Great care and specific precautions must be used when transporting compressed gas cylinders to keep hazards to a minimum. The uncontrolled release of a compressed gas can result in serious consequences, such as oxygen displacement, toxic leak, fire and explosion.  Cylinders can launch like missiles, and have even been known to penetrate concrete-block walls.

Moving or transporting cylinders, whether for a short distance, or cross-country, requires a specific set of precautions. Any movement must be planned and executed carefully. Dropping a cylinder can damage the cylinder itself, its retaining rings or its release valves and result in a catastrophic incident involving the uncontrolled release of its contents or an explosion.  DOT regulations specifically prohibit the transportation in commerce of a charged cylinder which is defective.  This includes cylinders with leaks, bulges, defective or inoperable valves, or damage from abuse, fire, heat, corrosion or rusting.  DOT regulations require that each hazardous material be positively identified prior to transportation.  During transport, gas cylinders should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from adverse weather conditions such as rain or snow.

CED Experts, including packaging engineers, material science engineers, chemical engineers and OSHA and transportation experts can assist you in a case involving gas cylinders.  For more information, contact one of our regional offices to speak with a case specialist.

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