Pressure vessels are designed to withstand pressure differentials caused by compressed gases, temperature gradients, chemical reaction, etc. Under certain circumstances, pressure vessels pose an explosive hazard capable of damaging laboratory property and harming personnel.
To minimize the risk associated with pressure gradients, observe the following guidelines:
- When working with a pressurized system, use physical barriers to protect personnel from physical injury caused by sudden failure of the system.
- Never heat or cool a closed system not capable of withstanding the generated pressure gradient.
- Use a pressure relief valve if system is connected to an external pressure source over 15psi.
- Periodically inspect setup for damage or stress.
- Only those gas cylinders in immediate use shall be located in a laboratory. Replacement cylinders and empty cylinders shall be stored in a designated area, preferably outside the building. Do not store cylinders in hallways.
- When not in use or while in transit, regulators shall be removed and valve protection caps put in place.
- All compressed gas cylinders must be secured with a chain, clamp, or strap at all times when in use, storage, or transport. Three points of contact should be made with the cylinder at all times whether in transit, storage, or use.
- Each tank must be properly and permanently identified when received. Never accept a cylinder on which the name of the contents is illegible. Do not rely on color codes for tank identification.
- Use appropriate regulators and do not attempt to modify or change cylinder valves or regulators.
- Always use recommended handling procedures for compressed gas cylinders even though they may seem empty.
- Return empty cylinders to the manufacturer, if possible.
- Use all of the contents of the cylinder.
- Cylinders that cannot be returned and are empty or are no longer wanted are handled through the hazardous waste program (see section IX). Contact EHS