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Piped in Gases and Gas Cylinders

When a laboratory requires gases to be supplied there is a hierarchy that should be considered at the planning stage in order or merit. The first consideration should be:

Can the laboratory gas be generated within the laboratory? If the answer is no, thenCan they be piped into the laboratory from an external cylinder store? If not reasonably practicable to do this either, thenConsider the use of a gas cylinder inside the laboratory. In this situation, siting the cylinder inside a vented cabinet should be considered over simply siting a cylinder into the lab space and the smallest sized cylinder should be installed which will depend on the process it is to be used for.

Any piped in gases must be provided with supply knock-off valves. Plumbed in service fixtures must be colour coded and labelled in accordance with EN 13792.

Gas bottles sited in the laboratory must be able to be fixed to a wall or sited into a cylinder cage to prevent them falling over.

Where gases are to be used that could displace the oxygen from the space or cause oxygen enrichment suitable detectors (correctly sited) must be incorporated into the laboratory design which will alert laboratory users of a gas escape in sufficient time to enable them to take emergency action to prevent a dangerous situation occurring.

An oxygen depletion calculator can be found here.

Additional guidance on gas cylinders is available.