7 Ways to Safely Store Medical Oxygen Cylinders

Mar 25, 2022

7 Ways to Safely Store Medical Oxygen Cylinders

Medical gas storage presents one of the greatest hazards at any medical facility or home where oxygen therapy is ongoing. Safely storing oxygen and other medical gases requires strict guidelines to help protect yourself, those around you and your property. So, how do you store oxygen tanks and medical gas cylinders properly?

Below are seven general guidelines on how to store oxygen cylinders.

Why does proper storage matter?

There are two main risks associated with oxygen cylinders. First is the increased risk of fire. While not flammable, oxygen is very reactive and can easily result in fire, especially when stored near combustible materials or open flames. A leaking or damaged tank can quickly become a dangerous fire hazard.

The second concern is that oxygen cylinders are often under such high pressure that they can cause significant damage, injuries, or even death if the cylinder breaks. If a full cylinder drops, falls or otherwise sustains damage, it may become a dangerous flying missile.

Secure cylinders are much less likely to cause damage or harm in your home or facility.

How to store oxygen cylinders: 7 tips for safe storage

How should oxygen tanks be stored? Whether you’re a staff member at a medical clinic or a patient undergoing oxygen therapy at home, these seven tips will help you ensure that you’re storing your oxygen cylinder safely.

  1. Secure all compressed gas cylinders in racks, stands, or on flat floors to prevent them from tipping over and becoming damaged.
  2. Keep cylinders upright whenever possible. If you must store cylinders horizontally, ensure they can’t roll into other cylinders or objects.
  3. Inspect your cylinders regularly for damage or leaks. Contact your supplier or servicer if necessary.
  4. Always store cylinders at least 20 feet away from open flames, combustible materials or heat sources.
  5. Ensure that those entering the premises understand that oxygen cylinders are present and what to do in case of an emergency.
  6. Always ensure valves are completely closed before storing.
  7. Never store cylinders in small spaces such as cupboards, closets, unventilated rooms, etc.

Additional considerations for storing medical gas cylinders safely

How to store medical oxygen cylinders in the workplace

Medical professionals must deal with a greater number of cylinders and often also contend with different medical gases, such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, fuel gas cylinders, and more. This means that well-organised cylinder storage is a must. Therefore, every medical professional is responsible for learning how to properly store oxygen tanks and other medical gases in their facility.

Facilities should plan storage to ensure that personnel can use tanks in the order they’re received. Facilities should never store more tanks than the area has room for. If the storage area is outside, it should include adequate security and protection from direct sunlight and weather. The facility should post adequate signage in and around the storage area.

Staff members should separate and clearly label full and empty cylinders in cylinder storage. In addition, all staff members entering the storage areas should ensure that the cylinders are upright and appropriately secured.

How to store oxygen cylinders safely at home

If you’re undergoing oxygen therapy at home, chances are you’ll have to store oxygen tanks in your house. So, how should oxygen cylinders be stored to keep you and your property safe?

Always store your oxygen at least 20 feet (6.1 m) from the kitchen, open flames, heat sources, and combustible materials such as paint, grease and oil. Store cylinders in a well-ventilated location (no closets or cabinets) and secure them against theft.

If you’re storing oxygen in your home, be sure to let your insurance, family and any visitors know. You may also post ‘No Smoking’ signs at your door to alert anyone entering the home that it is an oxygen-rich environment. In addition, ensure that you have easy access to a fire extinguisher and that your smoke detectors are in working order.

How to store oxygen tanks in transit

If you’re moving cylinders, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure your safety during transit.

All cylinders should be firmly secured in your vehicle, preferably in an upright position to help protect the cylinder valve from damage. You should never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car. Ensure that the tank is in a well-ventilated area.

When transporting cylinders around a facility or to and from a vehicle, always use a cylinder cart, trolley or another device to help you move the tanks. Never roll or drag tanks.

Where to find oxygen tanks

Mega Medical is proud to provide medical gases and medical gas equipment to medical clinics, emergency services and homes across Australia. So if you’re searching for oxygen cylinders, cylinder accessories, and storage solutions or other medical gases, our team can help. Call us today at 1300 881 824 to speak to a member of our staff about your order.