You are on page 1of 28

HANDLING HIGH

PRESSURE CYLINDERS
UMAINE Scuba Cylinder Training Program

Regulation
The Department of Transportation (DOT)
regulates transport of high pressure cylinders
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) regulates safety in the workplace
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR Title
49: 172.700) mandates employees of
companies involved in commerce who handle
compressed gas cylinders to receive
appropriate safety training.

Regulation
Discussions with US DOT have determined that most
organizations involved in scientific diving are not involved
in commerce and are exempt from periodic training
updates (local regulations or standards may re-impose
this requirement).
AAUS and NOAA scientific diving standards require all
scientific divers to receive hazardous materials training
for handling high pressure cylinders

HP Cylinder Construction
Construction- generally steel or aluminum
Capacity- amount of gas that can be compressed into the
cylinder at its rated pressure (expressed in cubic feet or
liters).
Working pressure- pressure in a cylinder at its capacity
(expressed in psi or bar).

Cylinder Markings
Data describing the cylinder must be clearly stamped on
the shoulder of the cylinder

Image courtesy Best


Publishing

Aluminum Cylinder Markings

Image courtesy Best


Publishing

Steel Cylinder Markings

Image courtesy Best


Publishing

Cylinder Valves
Valve types- K, J, H, Y
Valve connections- Yoke vs. DIN
Deutsches Institut fr Normung
German national standards
organization.
Valve features
O-ring
H
Burst disc
Function

J
Y

Cylinder Inspections
Hydrostatic Inspection- performed after manufacture
and at 5 year intervals
Visual Inspection (VIP)- performed annually
Internal inspections, hydrostatic tests, and repair work
should be performed only by trained technicians

Cylinder Inspections
Damaged/flooded cylinders should receive a visual
inspection before being put back in service
A cylinder that has failed the visual inspection or
hydrostatic testing process may never be returned to
service and is considered CONDEMNED.
Condemned cylinders should be made unserviceable
(i.e. cut in two, hole drilled in the wall, threads destroyed,
etc)

Condemned Cylinders
Do not use any cylinder that:
Is aluminum and has a rounded bottom
Have the manufacturing codes SP6576, SP6688, or
SP890 stamped into the cylinder
Have large dents, bulges, or lines of corrosion
Do not have a proper pressure relief device (burst disc)
Have manufacturing codes SP6498, E6498, SP7042,
or E7042 stamped into the cylinder unless the cylinder
is also stamped with the code 3AL
These were special aluminum alloys that were given
the 3AL rating at a later date

Hazards and Handling


Procedures
Treat all HP cylinders with R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
An 80 cubic foot cylinder filled to 3000 psi (207 bar) has
in excess of one million pounds of kinetic energy;
sufficient power to blow apart brick walls, destroy
vehicles, and injure or kill people.

Photo courtesy

Cylinder Hazards- Safe Handling

Do not drop, abuse, modify cylinders


Use only for scuba diving and related purposes
Wear closed-toed shoes when working around cylinders
Use proper lifting techniques and dollies to minimize the
risk of personal injury
Open cylinder valves slowly
Do not put your body in the gas stream
High pressure can force gas through the skin and into
the body; bubbles in the circulatory system could
result in an air injection injury and/or embolism

Safe Handling Procedures


Regulators or gauges may fail when a cylinder valve is
opened it is important to stand to the side rather than
in the line of discharge to avoid the blast effect in case of
failure
Do not look directly at the face of any pressure gauge
when turning on the cylinder because of the possibility of
a blowout

Storage
Store charged cylinders in an upright position
Secure cylinders properly to prevent falling or rolling
Chain or stout rope to sturdy object or wall
3-point nesting method
Store at temperatures not to exceed 130o F (54 C)
Maintain a clear egress path to avoid knocking over
cylinders

Transport
By hand
Carry with one hand on the valve
Do not stirrup or cradle cylinders
Do not place hand over orifice (air injection risk)
By vehicle/boat
While in transit, cylinders should be secured
Racked, tied, blocked, etc.

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
A fill station consists of a source of high pressure gas,
high pressure lines called whips that connect the gas
source to the cylinders being filled, and valves and
gauges to control and monitor the filling process
Fill stations come in a wide variety of configurations, the
specifics of operating a given system are beyond the
scope of this presentation and require additional training

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
Diving cylinders and associated high pressure equipment
are manufactured and tested to standards in order to
ensure a high degree of safety when they are properly
used and maintained
Manufacturing standards and maintenance requirements
do not eliminate the possibility of a catastrophic failure
that could result in serious injury or death

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
90% of all cylinder explosions
occur during the filling process
Operator error has been linked to
many of these incidents
Properly trained and attentive
operators reduce their risk of being
involved in a catastrophic incident
Be familiar with the equipment you
are working with and follow
inspection requirements and safe
operating procedures

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders

Photo courtesy Steve Sellers

Storage banks have specific pressure limitations and are


secured to prevent them from falling
Cascade filling involves equalizing the pressure in the cylinder
being filled with the pressure in a single cylinder in a series of
storage cylinders, moving to the next cylinder in the series
and repeating the process until the desired pressure is
reached
Cascade filling is the most economical use of banked gas

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders

Photos courtesy Global Mfg.


Corp.

Fill station valves can be of a metering or ball valve


design
A metering valve provides for slow and controlled
pressure adjustments
A ball valve is either open or closed
Caution should be taken when using ball valves, as rapid
pressure spikes can occur

Metering Valve

Ball Valve

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders

Photo courtesy Steve Sellers

High pressure lines:


Pipes and hoses that carry high pressure gas should
be secured approximately every two feet and
regularly inspected

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
The Fill Station Operator has the responsibility to reject
cylinders that do not meet standards
Before filling a cylinder:
Verify it has valid ICC or DOT stampings
Check for a current Hydrostatic Test Stamp
Check for a current Visual Inspection
Check for damage, corrosion, flooding, etc.
Check the working pressure of the cylinder
Check for a proper burst/overpressure disc

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
Before filling a cylinder:
Check the pressure in the cylinder and its contents
(air, nitrox, etc.)
Cylinders containing gas mixtures other than air
should not be allowed to equalize pressure through
the fill whips with cylinders not containing the same
gas; doing so modifies gas mixtures in all the
cylinders and could compromise the safety of
unsuspecting divers using them

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders

Photo courtesy Steve Sellers

Preparing to fill:
Open cylinder valve to blow out dust/water
Attach the fill whip to the valve
Close the whip bleed valve and open the cylinder
valve
If filling multiple cylinders containing the same gas,
open all cylinder valves and equalize the pressure
between cylinders
Open the fill whip valve
Open supply valve

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders

Photo courtesy Steve Sellers

Charge cylinders at 300-600 psig/min (20-41 bar/min) to


prevent excessive heat buildup
Never exceed the maximum allowable pressure for any
particular cylinder
Never perform maintenance or repairs on a cylinder
valve while the cylinder is charged

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
A 3000 psi (207 bar) cylinder should take 5 to 10 minutes
to fill
Aluminum alloy cylinders should never be filled in excess
of marked service pressure, and steel cylinders without a
plus (+) after the current hydrostatic test date should
also not be filled over their marked service pressure

Fill Stations and


Filling Cylinders
When the filling process is complete, bleed excess
pressure from the fill whips, close all valves, shut off
power to the compressor, and secure the fill station per
local procedures