Constructing a gas cylinder store

Oct 4, 2018 Posted by Walter Ingles

Gas cylinder stores must be constructed according to the requirements of AS4332-2004 - The storage and handling of gases in cylinders. This blog discusses some of the key requirements of the Standard including the location of the cylinder stores, the physical construction, and the need for suitable ventilation systems.

Choosing a location for your cylinder store

Wherever possible a cylinder store should be located outside. Compressed gases create significant hazards when stored in confined spaces as leaked gas can quickly replace the oxygen content in a room. Escaped flammable gases can build into an explosion hazard, while exposure to leaked toxic and corrosive gases can be immediately fatal or cause serious injuries and impairments. Storing gas cylinders outside means that leaked gases often have the chance to dissipate naturally into the environment without incident.

When deciding on the best location for your cylinder store, the Standard requires that you choose a location that is:

  • Able to fenced off and secured so unauthorised personnel cannot access the store
  • Clear of combustible materials, vegetation and foliage, as well as refuse and waste (there should be a minimum 3 metre clearance)
  • Isolated from sources of industrial heat including furnaces, operating plant, boilers, radiators, and steam pipes
  • On the ground floor
  • At least 1 metre from the building openings (windows, doors, vents, or ducting)
  • Able to be isolated from ignition sources and the generation of static electricity

IMPORTANT: An outdoor cylinder store must be free standing, is fenced and secured against unauthorised access, and at least 40% of its wall area must be fully open.

Physical requirements

Gas cylinder stores must be constructed from non-combustible materials and sit on a level floor or base. The base should be paved or concrete so that it will retain its integrity in all weather conditions — bitumen and other soft surfaces prone to indentation are not suitable base covers.

Here at STOREMASTA we recommend a purpose-built gas bottle cage when storing cylinders outside. Here are 10 key reasons why a STOREMASTA gas bottle cage will help you meet the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of AS4332-2004:-

  1. The Standard requires that gas bottles must be stored upright and cylinders protected at all times from falling over. Gas bottle cages have adjustable dividers plus restraint bars and chains to secure the cylinders individually.
  2. Gas bottle cages protect cylinders from damage by vehicles or being impacted from falling objects. Choose a heavy-duty cage if cylinders stores are in areas accessed by forklifts, delivery trucks, heavy equipment vehicles, or earthmoving trucks.
  3. Doors on the gas cylinder stores open outwards in a way that complies with the Standard.
  4. Walls are perforated to assist with ventilation plus meet the requirements of an ‘outdoor store’.
  5. Cylinder cages come with compliant warning placards and safety signage.
  6. Gas bottle cages are constructed of heavy duty steel and are finished in a corrosive resistant 2-PACK polyurethane coating.
  7. Choose a cylinder store suitable for the hazard class of the gas and the operations at your worksite. Different options include flammables, acetylene and O2 stores, aerosol cages, and cages to store LPG forklift cylinders.
  8. Gas cylinder stores are relocatable and can be secured to the ground.
  9. Reduce manual handling and other loading/transfer incidents by taking advantages of the fold down ramps.
  10. Gas bottle cages are completely customisable and can be paired with companion first aid stations, PPE cabinets, document boxes (for SDSs and Hazardous Chemicals Manifest), safety showers, and eye-wash stations.

IMPORTANT: Gas cylinder stores must have enough lighting so that the markings on cylinders plus operational and safety equipment can be read. Care must be taken when installing electrical fittings to ensure they will not create sparks or static electricity and cannot be impacted by the cylinders.

Ventilating cylinder stores

Cylinder stores must have adequate ventilation sufficient to:

  1. Dilute and remove gases and vapours to keep the store within safe exposure limits
  2. Keep the gases within explosive range
  3. Provide enough fresh air to minimise the risk of asphyxiation
  4. Ensure the entire area has a consistent air flow and that gases don’t stagnate in low lying areas
  5. Direct exhaust to the outside and away from people, ignition sources and buildings openings (doors, windows, ducting)

Ventilation can be achieved naturally or with a mechanical ventilation system. Either system must be in operation whenever the cylinder store is in use. The Standard is very specific about the requirements of both natural and mechanical ventilation systems and Section 4.3 contains a number of schematic drawings to demonstrate how various systems must be constructed.

Next Steps

For more detailed information about the requirements of AS4332-2004 - The storage and handling of gases in cylinders we encourage you to download our free eBook Gas Cylinder Storage: Compliance and safety requirements. We unpack the requirements of the Standard in clear, easy-to-read text and use real world examples and case studies to demonstrate how to apply the requirements at your own workplace. Download it today by clicking on the image below:

gas cylinder storage: Compliance and safety requirements

Walter Ingles

Walter Ingles Compliance Specialist

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Adviser. He loves helping businesses reduce the risk that Dangerous Goods pose upon their employees, property and the environment through safe and compliant dangerous goods storage solutions.

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