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Acetylene storage

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  • Acetylene storage

    Whats the legality of storing full acetylene tanks like this? Home made wood stand and back wall, light chain loosely "securing" them, no cage, no placards and they are in direct sun half of the day. The oxygen tanks are kept on a similar setup on the opposite end of that metal bin. There is a covered cage on the other side of the building that now sits empty.
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  • #2

    All compressed gas cylinders (full or empty) are required to be secured so they don't tip or fall over. Most jurisdictions accept a chain as a measure to comply with this. Placards are required during transport when a quantity is exceeded per DOT. In this case (storage), each cylinder should have a label indicating the contents and the building may be required to have an NFPA 704 symbol.

    The best thing you can do is check NFPA, IFC or whatever fire code standard you are using on requirements for flammable gas/compressed gas storage. Since I do not have the books in front of me, I am not going to quote code, but it sounds like you have some valid concerns. Work with the owner/occupant on using the covered cage as a better means to protect their investment.
    The most important task on the fireground is the one YOU have!


    • #3
      Actually I do not know U.S. standards, but seems to me that close storage of flammable and oxidizers is never a safe storage. Behind that I fear that in such a close storage failure of one cylinder valve can potentially lead to a jet fire impinging the others...
      Remember that acetylene is a nasty flammable, extremly reactive, capable of explosive exothermic polymerization.


      • #4
        it's fine.

        As long as they are 20 feet apart, and secured with a chain they are fine.


        • #5
          Originally posted by ARH176 View Post
          As long as they are 20 feet apart, and secured with a chain they are fine.
          I know only of the requirement for saftey chains and the protective caps installed. As far as keeping them 20 feet apart. I have never seen that restriction. Especially considering that the most popular use of Acetylene is for Oxy Acetylene cutting. In those instances the two cylinders are secured right next to each other. Usually on a cart, hand truck or a vehicle mount setup.

          And most industries i have seen have cylinder storage areas where gasses of all types are stored together. The only difference is one section is for empty, the other for full. I am sure state laws, or most likley city fire codes may have something to say about them, but it would be specific to your area. I know of no federal law that forbids Acetylene from being stored with oxygen.


          • #6
            Well, I know that the common use of acetylene needs to be close to the oxygen cylinder, but it's never a good practice to store oxidezer and flammable close in a chemical facility, whatever they are gas, liquid or powders.

            So if the question is if this storage is completely safe I would say no, if the question is if it is compliant to the standards I say: I don't know, I do not know U.S. standards.

            Let me say that in many chemical plant and in many labs I have seen in my country they try to avoid to store gas cylinder in mixed order.
            Last edited by Giovanni012; 08-24-2009, 12:40 AM.


            • #7
              The regs are from OSHA, I don't know the numbers off the top of my head. They go into several other methods of storage. As for cyls outside that is how we had them at the acetylene plant.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Turbodiesel View Post
                Whats the legality of storing full acetylene tanks like this? Home made wood stand and back wall, light chain loosely "securing" them, no cage, no placards and they are in direct sun half of the day. The oxygen tanks are kept on a similar setup on the opposite end of that metal bin. There is a covered cage on the other side of the building that now sits empty.
                First off, let me say that member ARH176 was correct about the 20' separation between oxidizers and flammable gasses. They are also supposed to be seperated by hazard classes. The exception to that rule is for cylinders considered "in use". So if they are on a cart connected to an Oxy/Acetylene hose and torch setup, it is perfectly ok for them to be right next to each other.

                I inquired today with the safety department at a local industry in town that deals with alot of compressed gasses. The person i spoke to said they have met all the current standards set forth by OSHA and they the local fire marshall. I even saw the permits for storage. He showed me the code requirements for storage of compressed gasses and the bottom line is this:

                There is no requirement for keeping cylinders out of direct sunlight.
                There is no requirement for placards whatsoever since there is no transport going on. It's simply a storage area.
                There is no requirement for a "cage" of any type. There is mention of cages and racks as items to make storage safer and easier. But it is not a requirement.
                Of course, the storage area should not be made of combustible materials.

                All that is required is that it be a "designated storage area" with safetey chains that prevent cylinders from falling over. There is no requirement that the cylinders be tightly chained so that movement is not possible It's simply "secured so they cannot fall over". And one chain is fine for an entire storage area so long as it can be adjusted to contain all the cylinders.

                The CGA (Compressed Gas Association) has a list of guidelines called Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet P-1-1965.

                Here are some links with the storage guidelines:



                Hope this info helps. I learned alot by reading it! I now know of lots of places who are doing it wrong!


                • #9
                  Try looking in NFPA 1, Chpt 63.3 or NFPA 55 Chpt 1-7. That should give you a good start.


                  • #10
                    Acetylene Storage

                    You may also want to try looking in NFPA 1, ch. 63.3 or NFPA 55 Ch. 1-7


                    • #11
                      Thank you for the valuable informations.
                      Things seems to bite quite similar to that of my country.
                      I am sad to note that many of the answer of this topic were more based on: "we always do in that way so it is safe" more than on actully risk knowledge.


                      • #12
                        In the United States, in addition to the applicable NFPA standards, the AHJ may also have adopted the International Fire Code, or a similar set of fire codes. The IFC/2006 references NFPA standards when specifying many codes, for example, one off the top of my head, when dealing with the design, installation, maintenance and care of a sprinkler system, the IFC/2006 references NFPA 13 and NFPA 25.

                        Although it has been a while since I have had to look anything dealing with flammable gases, I am sure that the IFC probably references NFPA 1 or 55. I also know for a fact that propane and LNG has certain storage requirements in certain quantities and occupancy classes (example, as a code enforcement official, I had to deal with a supermarket a few weeks ago who had one of those propane exchange stations too close to the entrance of the store. The IFC requires it to be "X" amount of distance from any windows or doors.) I am sure there are probably quantity amounts that trigger requirements for acetylene.
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