SUBJECT: Safe Handling and Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders


Compressed gases are used for a variety of purposes at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Compressed gases serve the university in many ways. But contained under high pressures, they also present a number of hazards. This bulletin contains guidelines to help ensure the safe handling and storage of compressed gas cylinders.

When cylinders are mishandled they may explode, release their hazardous contents or become dangerous projectiles. Move large cylinders with a cylinder cart and secure them with a chain. To protect the threads and the valve, make sure a cap is in place when the cylinder is not in use. If a cylinder is dropped, knocked over, involved in a fire, or potentially damaged, take it out of service and send it to the manufacturer for inspection. If a cylinder is damaged, in poor condition, or the contents are unknown, contact Environmental Health and Safety.


  • Roll a cylinder to move it
  • Carry a cylinder by the valve
  • Leave an open cylinder unattended
  • Leave a cylinder unsecured
  • Force the improper attachments on to the wrong cylinder
  • Refill a manufacturer's serviceable cylinder
  • Discard pressurized cylinders in the normal trash


Store cylinders in areas designated and marked only for cylinders. Cylinders should be stored in chemically compatable groups.


  • Flammables from oxidizers
  • Corrosives from flammables
  • Full cylinders from empties
  • All cylinders from corrosive vapors
  • Always store cylinders securely, whether full or empty