Working with gas in laboratories can be a risky business. Most gas used in laboratories is contained in cylinders. Unsafe handling and procedures can lead to dangerous inhalation or even turn the cylinder into an explosive rocket. Here are a few safety tips to follow when working with gas in laboratories.
Gas cylinders should be stored properly to control the characteristics of the gas being contained. Flammable cylinders should be stored far from oxygen and hydrogen cylinders to eliminate the risk of fire, whereas all cylinders should generally be stored in cool, dry places to avoid vaporization and pressurization. Use appropriate chains or straps to secure stored cylinders in place.
Cylinders can be very heavy to move. A cylinder trolley is the best bet for the safe transportation of heavy cylinders around the laboratory to decrease movement. Excessive movement can create unwanted pressurization, which can make removing the cylinder cap highly dangerous. When moving cylinders, the cylinder should be securely strapped to the trolley or cart and the valve should be protected by a cap. It also may be wise to look into a Precise chemical transfer pump for pharmaceutical manufacturing when it is needed for larger requirements within a testing manufacturing lab.
When using gas substances, be sure to inspect your cylinders and regulator often. Look for external or internal leaks, corrosive glass, and excessive grease or dirt build-up on the valves and regulator.
Always label compressed gases and be sure to read the label of the substances before using them. Make sure labels are legible, and do not rely solely on a cap label, as caps can be interchangeable. Before getting to work, you should be fully confident in the labeling of the substances you are using.
Gas cylinders carry compressed gas for laboratory usage; however, they can be highly dangerous if not handled with care. Some laboratories have made the switch to gas generators to minimize human contact and utilize automated safety features. If your laboratory is not equipped with a gas generator, be sure to follow storage, movement, inspection, and identification safety tips for working with gas in laboratories.