Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety

Brewers Association Safety subcommittee members outline necessary steps to ensure the safe handling, storage, and use of compressed gas cylinders in the brewery environment.

Virtually all breweries house compressed gas cylinders of some kind, often in the form of CO2 cylinders, O2 cylinders, bulk CO2 vessels, air compressors, propane tanks, and even pressurized empty kegs. Performing a hazard analysis for each vessel type requires understanding of chemical compatibility, chemical attributes, potential energy release due to pressurization, and prevention of creating a hazardous atmosphere. Proper storage, use, and handling of compressed gas cylinders can be easily achieved, but does require a proactive plan to ensure the safety of brewery employees.

All the information below can be downloaded for later use as a pdf: Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety


Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety

Safe management of compressed gas cylinders should protect the integrity of the cylinder valve at all times and prevent the release of hazardous energy and chemicals.

Compressed gas cylinder safety falls into three categories: Storage, Use, and Transport/Handling.

GENERAL:

All cylinders must be labeled in terms of:

  • Chemical ID (what’s in there?!)
  • Fill status (empty or full?)

STORAGE:

Compressed gas cylinders must be stored in a secure and upright position:

  • Secure: means you can physically demonstrate that if the cylinder is bumped or nudged, it will not fall over
    • Chained to the wall; tank cabinets or corral slots
  • Capped: regulators are to be removed and the cap is to be applied so that in the unlikely case that the cylinder were to fall over, the valve is still protected
  • Segregated
    • Empty and full containers must be stored separately
    • Compressed gases are chemicals too—separate non-compatible chemicals!
      • Separate chemicals based on their Department of Transportation class designation, i.e. don’t store flammable chemicals and oxidizers together
  • Identifiable
    • Chemical ID (What’s in there?!)
    • Fill status (Empty or full?)
  • Out of the way
    • Should not be stored in high traffic areas (walking, forklift, or otherwise)
    • Away from corrosive environments and temperature extremes

USE:

Safe use is similar to safe storage with a few minor exceptions:

  • Must be able to demonstrate that cylinder is integrated in equipment and actively in use
  • Secure and upright
    • Chained to wall or sturdy component of equipment; on rated safety stand; fall-safe regulator attached
  • Leak tested: to prevent a hazardous release and/or loss of expensive resources
    • Test lines and joints with a soap spray
      • Do not just rely on listening for a hissing sound
    • Install CO2 meters in any area where CO2 is used

TRANSPORT/HANDLING:

  • PPE: must wear closed toe shoe; preferably a safety-toed boot
  • Capped: tank is most likely to be knocked over while in transport
  • Strapped: tank should be locked in and secured to transport dolly or vehicle
  • Small distances: tilt the tank slightly, and move tank in small, controlled increments to place in working position
  • Transport cart or dolly: use a rated transport device for moving tanks from one location to another
    • Rolling tank on its side, dragging, picking up and lugging around, and/or cradling in the tines of the forklift are dangerous methods of transporting cylinders
  • Transport using a forklift: may only be done with rated pallet adaptor specifically designed for the purpose of transporting compressed gas cylinders
  • Transport with motor vehicle: may only be done by persons with a proper Department of Transportation (DOT) certification, unless transporting quantities under DOT regulatory limits

Speakers: Chris Bogdanoff, Reva Golden, Russell “Tony” McCrimmon

About Our Speakers:

Chris Bogdanoff is currently brewer at Anaheim Brewery, a diploma brewer from American Brewers Guild, and certified draft technician from Micro Matic. In addition to his passion for brewing, he has a background in human resources that gives him a nose for compliance and the motivation for training and development. Chris joined the BA Safety subcommittee in 2016 and notably helped integrate safety information in the third edition of the BA’s Draught Beer Quality Manual.

Reva Golden entered the brewing industry as a quality control sampling technician at Coors Brewing Company. After attending the American Brewers Guild and working in a number of craft breweries, Reva turned her focus from beer quality and production to worker health and safety. Recently graduated from Colorado State University, earning a Master’s of Science in Industrial Hygiene, Golden is a charter member of the BA Safety subcommittee.

Russell “Tony” McCrimmon is OHST Certified, and Safety and Health Specialist Certified. Tony has done work in many industries and types of production both as a technical applications specialist and safety professional. He is also a subject matter expert for process automation, production, and safety equipment. Tony has installed, troubleshot, and trained use and repair for machine guarding, gas detection, supplied breathing air equipment, fall protection, PPE, safety equipment, and managed a gas detector program. Tony is also an OSHA outreach trainer and competent person certified to train forklifts, NFPA 70e, aerial lifts, fall protection programs, confined space entry, HAZWOPER/hazmat, hazcom, and various equipment and safety subjects. He has managed safety programs for small and large companies, and is a member of the BA Safety subcommittee.