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BOC Healthcare offer vocational and safety training programmes that are designed for staff who require basic knowledge in the safe use, storage and handling of medical gases, cryogenics and emergency actions for Medical Gas Pipeline Systems (MGPS) and cylinders. Each course comprises of multiple modules designed to ensure the needs of a particular staff group is met.
The basic safety guidance on this page is not intended as a substitute for the necessary comprehensive training that is required for portering staff, nurses and other personnel regularly involved in handling medical gases.
Ensure medical gas cylinders are stored safely, so they do not fall over and cause injury. We recommend the use of cylinder stalls and racks.
Clearly identify the storage areas with appropriate signage.
Ensure separation of full and empty cylinders.
Store medical gas cylinders separately from industrial and other non medical cylinders in a well-ventilated area that is clean and dry, preferably inside
The store should have good access for delivery vehicles and level floor areas
Do not store or use cylinders near naked flames, sources of ignition or combustible materials.
Smoking should not be permitted in the vicinity where cylinders are used or stored.
Large size cylinders (such as F, HX, G and J sizes) should be stored vertically on concrete floored pens. Fastened with appropriate chains.
Small size cylinders with round bases (such as C, , D and E size) should be stored horizontally on shelves . Small cylinders with bases may be stored vertically or horizontally
ENTONOX® cylinders should be stored at above 10°C for at least 24 hours prior to use.
The store should be designed to prevent unauthorised entry to protect cylinders from theft.
Note: Particular care needs to be taken with nitrous oxide and ENTONOX cylinders to make sure they are securely stored as they are particularly vulnerable to theft.
Cylinders stored ready for use
All cylinders must be secure at all times, using cylinder holders or trolleys
Ensure cylinders remain visible at all times
Where possible place cylinders near to an exit so that they can be removed quickly in an emergency. They must not, however, block the exit
A good stock of cylinder keys should be readily available
Advice should be sought from the local authorities regarding any specific regulations pertaining to the design and location of the cylinder store.
BOC can provide assistance with the design of the cylinder stores and appropriate warning signs. Additional information about the layout and operation of the store is available in HTM 02-01 (Part B).
The Emergency Services should be advised of the location and contents of the cylinder store.
In order to comply with current manual handling regulations, it is advisable that when handling medical gas cylinders, the following precautions are followed:
It is good practice to wear safety shoes and gloves when moving cylinders
Cylinders should only be moved with a trolley designed for appropriately sized cylinders
Never roll cylinders along the ground as this may cause the valve to open accidentally. It will also damage the cylinder label and paintwork
Never churn large nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide cylinders fitted with hand wheel valves, as the valve may open accidentally and could cause cold burns due to escaping gas.
When handling full nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide cylinders fitted with hand wheel valves, do not remove the valve seal until the cylinder is ready to use
Cylinders should be handled with care, never knocked violently or allowed to fall over
Ensure labels remain clearly visible at all times and not removed or covered. Unauthorised labels/tags must not be fitted
Do not refill the cylinder or attempt to tamper with the cylinder package
Do not use oil or grease (or any oil-based products which includes hand creams) in the vicinity of medical gas cylinders
If you need to clean the cylinder, seek advice from BOC before using any propitiatory cleaning agents
When fitting lightweight cylinders to equipment, do not use excessive force on any clamping devices – this may damage the cylinder shell. Ensure that the clamping screw is fitted with a suitable foot to prevent too much force being exerted on the outside of the cylinder