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Compressed Gases - Compressed gas cylinders may contain up to 2500 PSI of pressure. Serious accidents can occur when the valves of these cylinders are broken off. The escaping gases can create a jet action of sufficient force to propel the cylinder like a "rocket". This "rocket" can penetrate through walls of buildings and cause injury to persons in its vicinity. The improper storage, movement, and use of gas cylinders is a major safety hazard.
When using high-pressure compressed gas cylinders, always be aware of the following safe work practices:
- Empty cylinders must be plainly marked "MT" or "EMPTY" and removed to a segregated storage area.
- To prevent tipping, cylinders must be secured in position regardless of status (in use or storage; full or empty) by restraining straps or chains mounted to a rigid surface.
- When cylinders are not in use, insure that the valve is in the off position and not leaking. Valve covers must be firmly in place.
- Only use regulators and gauges designed for the particular gas to be used. Never force-fit gauges and regulators, because leaks may appear creating additional hazards.
- Always store cylinders with valve end "UP" and valve cover installed.
- When movement of the cylinders is required, transport cylinders with a wheeled cart. Do not slide or roll cylinders.
- Storage of high-pressure gas cylinders must be in a well-ventilated area and away from excessive heat or ignition sources.
- During storage, oxygen and other oxidizing compressed gas cylinders must be separated from compressed gas cylinders containing flammables.
- If cylinders must be filled, do so according to regulatory and manufacturer guidelines.
- Department of Transportation (DOT) rules require that hydrostatic testing procedures be used as preventive maintenance to detect cylinder fatigue. Refuse delivery on cylinders not having the hydrostatic test date marked on the cylinder.
Sharps - Sharps are any object capable of penetrating the skin, including, but not limited to: needles, scalpels, broken glass, broken capillary tubes, razor blades, saw blades, and exposed ends of dental wires. Dispose of sharps in impervious, puncture resistant, rigid containers to eliminate the potential of physical injury. Label all sharps containers that are disposed of in building waste receptacles (e.g., broken glass, sharps, etc.). It is each department's responsibility to assure that sharps are not put into the regular garbage, or other regular waste receptacles, in a loose or unprotected state.
When the disposal of sharps is complicated by the presence of radioactive, hazardous chemical, or bio-hazardous contamination, the proper disposal steps for each must be taken once the sharps have been placed in the proper container and labeled. Sharps containers contaminated with radioactive, hazardous, chemical, or bio-hazardous materials must be labeled with the appropriate hazard symbol (e.g., radioactive, bio-hazardous, corrosive, etc.).
For further information on the disposal of sharps, please contact the Safety and Environmental Health Office at 777-3341.