Environmental Health & Safety

Compressed Gas Cylinder Control Policy


January 2010

Scope

Gas Cylinders

This policy is prepared in accordance with Amherst College Plans, Policies and Standard Operating Guidelines, the Amherst College Environmental Health and Safety Committee, and the Environmental Compliance Committee.

Purpose

Amherst College is committed to provide a safe environment for students and employees of the College who need to work with and around hazardous materials and to those areas of the Campus which may be affected by presence of such materials. The management of compressed gas cylinders and lecture bottles is crucial to that goal. This policy is written to provide the overall requirements for the management of compressed gas cylinders and lecture bottles in all laboratories, work spaces, facilities, and other property of Amherst College.

Applicability:

All departments, employees, students, and visitors at Amherst College.

Definitions:

Lecture Bottles
High pressure gas cylinders which are generally sold outright by the gas supplier and are not returnable to gas supplier. Lecture bottles may be purchased with flammable, corrosive, and other hazardous material as defined in 49 CFR, Department of Transportation (DOT), and 29 CFR, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Lecture bottles have the designation "LB". See Appendix A.
Low Pressure Gas Cylinders

Low Pressure cylinders are generally owned by the gas supplier and returned when the contents have been consumed. Low pressure cylinders may be purchased with flammable, corrosive, and other hazardous material as defined in 49 CFR, Department of Transportation (DOT), and 29 CFR, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. See Appendix A.

High Pressure Gas Cylinders

High Pressure cylinders are generally owned by the gas supplier and returned when the contents have been consumed. High pressure cylinders may be purchased with flammable, corrosive, and other hazardous material as defined in 49 CFR, Department of Transportation (DOT), and 29 CFR, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. See Appendix A.

Procurement of Hazardous Materials

A. General requirements:
  1. Only authorized employees (not students) may order gas cylinders.
  2. Before ordering, ensure that suitable cylinders are not available (declared excess by another researcher or department) for use by utilizing the Amherst College Chemical Inventory System.
  3. Where possible, avoid the purchase of lecture bottles, LB, due to the expense of disposal of such cylinders.
B. Purchase Orders
  1. Purchase orders (PO) shall be the vehicle for ordering cylinders.
  2. For purposes of maintaining an accurate inventory, it is important that the IUPAC or common names for the materials ordered be used on the PO.
  3. In the event that POs are placed by telephone, the originator of the PO shall identify the responsible Faculty Member or Staff Member as the person to whom the cylinder is to be shipped.
  4. The originator of the purchase order shall ensure that the responsible person's name is noted on the PO.
  5. The procuring department shall enter the purchase order information into the Amherst College Chemical Inventory System (CIS) and print a bar code label for the cylinder to be used when it is received.
C. Receipt of Cylinders
  1. When the cylinder is received, the bar code label shall be affixed to the container by the department ordering the hazardous material.
  2. The cylinder shall be stored, if not used immediately, in accordance with the manufacturer's MSDS or label warnings, or the appropriate sections of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Handling and Use of Gas Cylinders

A. Transportation
  1. All high and low pressure cylinders must be transported in an approved cylinder cart into which the cylinder has been securely strapped.
  2. No high and low pressure cylinders will be transported without the cylinder cap securely attached.
  3. No cylinder will be transported with a regulator attached to the cylinder.
B. Storage

All cylinders must be stored in appropriate areas with safety chains or proper cylinder clamps.

C. MSDS Information
  1. It is important that anyone using gas cylinders read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) associated with its contents before its use.
  2. Anyone handling or using gas cylinders shall use personal protective equipment as noted in the MSDS or as indicated in the Amherst College Chemical Hygiene Plan.
D. Disposal of Empty Cylinders
  1. If the entire contents of a high and low pressure gas cylinder are consumed, the empty cylinder shall be wanded to read the bar code to decrement the quantity in the CIS.
  2. Empty high and low pressure cylinders will be placed on the loading dock for pickup by the supplier.
  3. Empty lecture bottles will be de-valved and rinsed with appropriate solvent. The de-valved bottle will be mutilated by drilling a large hole in the cylinder to prevent reuse. The mutilated bottle will then be scrapped as metal waste.
E. Incident Reporting

In the event of an accident or other situation involving a gas cylinder of any size or pressure, report the incident via Form 1, Incident Reporting.

Appendix A: High and Low Pressure Cylinder Diagrams (Not included in electronic version)

Appendix B: Cylinder Technical Data (Not included in electronic version)

Appendix C: Incident Report Form