6.0 Transport, Security and Storage

Every compressed gas cylinder should be treated as a potential high energy projectile or missile and, therefore, gas cylinders should be secured at all times to prevent tipping.

Transport Safety

  • Never transport a cylinder without the cap in place.
  • Use a suitable handcart for moving cylinders.  Secure the cylinder by chaining it to the cart.
  • Do not lift cylinders by the cap.
  • Never carry a cylinder by its valve and do not roll or drag cylinders.

The cap is installed for the protection of the cylinder valve and, therefore, gas cylinders should be capped when not in use. Prior to transporting or relocating a cylinder, remove the regulator and attach the cylinder cap. The cylinder cap should be screwed all the way down on the cylinder’s neck ring and should fit securely.

Use a suitable handcart for moving cylinders and secure the cylinder with a cart chain. It is strongly recommended that researchers should move only one gas cylinder at a time to a designated location in the lab.

Cylinders may be attached to a bench top, individually to the wall, placed in a holding cage, or have a non-tip base attached. Chains or sturdy straps are used to secure them at a point approximately 2/3 the height of the cylinder at all times.  If installation of wall chains or bench straps is needed, contact the University Work Control Center.

EMPTY cylinders should be properly tagged as shown in section 4 “Labels and Signage” and stored separately from FULL cylinders. Never store cylinders in a hallway, near the doors, or other means of egress.

Lecture Bottles

Lecture bottles (small compressed cylinders, typically 12-18 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter) may be stored horizontally. They should be stored in such a way as to prevent rolling, falling or damage to the valve. Storage options include a rack, drawer or box.

Methods to Secure Cylinders

Special Storage Conditions

NFPA Precautionary Storage Guidance

  • A typical laboratory may have no more than three standard cylinders of flammable gases and/or oxygen; two of liquefied flammable gases; and three 4”x15” cylinders (or volume equivalent) of gases with high health hazard ratings.
  • Gases with NFPA Health Hazard Ratings of 3 or 4 (or a rating of 2 with no physiological warning properties) SHOULD be kept in a hood or other continuous mechanical ventilation.
  • No more than three cylinders with ratings of 3 or 4 can be kept in one enclosure.

Useful Life Span

Recommended retention periods for compressed gases are 36 months for liquefied flammable gases, flammable gases, and oxygen; and 6 months for corrosive or unstable gases or those with an NFPA Health Hazard Rating of 3 or 4.

Ambient Storage Temperature

Cylinders should be protected from extreme weather, direct sunlight, and other heat sources. The storage temperatures should not exceed 100°  F. Do not subject cylinders to temperatures below –20°  F, unless they are designed for such temperatures.

Flammable gases

Maintain at least 20 feet from flammable liquids, sources of heat, and cylinders of oxygen or other oxidizers such as nitrous oxide. 


Never use grease or solvents on valves and fittings. Regulators and tubing/piping should be specially cleaned to remove oil, etc., prior to using piping of gases.

Inert gases

Inert gases should be stored in a ventilated area because leaks in closed spaces can displace oxygen.

Toxic gases with inhalation LC50 less than 3000 ppmv

Store and use in vented enclosure or fume hood. Gas specific vented cabinets should be purchased and installed as recommended by the gas manufacturer or supplier