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Helium balloon gas cylinders - Safety and risk assessment
You should, however, be aware that under current safety regulations it is the employer's responsibility to assess the risk to health and safety of their employees and of any visitors to their premises. It is also the employer's responsibility to take all possible steps to ensure risks are minimised.
Employers should undertake their own risk assessments, taking into account local circumstances.
Before handling and using balloon gas cylinders, ensure you understand the properties of the gas, the potential hazards, correct manual cylinder handling and actions to take in the event of an emergency.
BOC has the safety of both its customers and employees at heart. This information has been compiled to offer general advice on the safe handling, storage and transport of high-pressure helium balloon gas cylinders.
It should be read in conjunction with the Balloon Gas Safety Data Sheet.
BOC's Balloon OccasionsTM low pressure, disposable container offers an alternative to cylinders for low-usage applications.
BOC has a range of cylinder sizes available.
Weights can range from 4.4kg up to 80kg. It is important you choose a cylinder size suitable for your storage, manual handling and usage conditions.
Safety Data Sheet
- Read the Balloon Gas Safety Data Sheet and keep it for reference.
- Ensure you understand the properties and hazards of the gas you are using and the correct operating procedures for filling balloons.
- The cylinder label identifies the gas contents of the cylinder and provides basic safety information.
- NEVER use a cylinder unless it can be clearly identified.
- If a cylinder is delivered without a label it should be returned to BOC.
- To avoid muscle strain and injury, use correct lifting techniques. The larger T and L size cylinders should not be lifted manually due to their weight. Cylinder trolleys should be used and are available for purchase from BOC.
- NEVER drag a cylinder along the ground.
- Use cylinders in an upright position and secure them to prevent toppling.
- Do not attempt to catch a falling cylinder; move out of the way.
- The valve on high-pressure balloon gas cylinders should never be opened unless the appropriate filling kit is attached.
- For safety reasons and to ensure compatibility we strongly recommend that only a BOC-supplied filling kit is used with a BOC cylinder.
- Check the valve outlet is free from contamination before fitting the filling kit.
- Slowly open the cylinder valve by turning it in an anti-clockwise direction. Listen for any obvious leaks. If there is a leak, turn off the valve, release any excess gas in the filling kit and check you have fitted the filling kit correctly.
- The cylinder valve should be closed when the cylinder is empty or not in use. The cylinder valve is closed by turning it in a clockwise direction, hand tight only.
- Remove the filling kit if moving the cylinder any distance or ceasing use. Before removing the filling kit,turn off the cylinder valve and release the pressure in the kit.
- Do not scrap a high-pressure cylinder. The cylinder remains the property of BOC.
- Balloon gas cylinders can rupture when heated in a fire.
- Store them in a well-ventilated, non-smoking area, away from other flammable materials and sources of ignition or heat.
- Store cylinders in an upright position and secure them to prevent toppling. Never turn your back on a free-standing cylinder. Cylinder safety stands, trolleys and wall straps are available for purchase from BOC.
- Cylinders stored in the open should stand on a well drained, flat surface.
Transport - Delivery and collection by a BOC driver
BOC drivers are trained to take appropriate safety precautions when delivering cylinders. If the driver believes delivery cannot be made whilst guaranteeing the safety of the driver, customer personnel or property (such as tiles, carpet and merchandise), the driver may need to abort the delivery.
To avoid this happening the customer should notify and discuss with BOC any cylinder handling, access or delivery restrictions at time of order, such as vehicle size, weight, height, pedestrian zones, parking restrictions, steps and stairways.
Cylinders must never be transported on an escalator. Bear in mind that BOC vehicles must not be left unattended for excessive time.
Transport - Delivery and collection by the customer
- Check the cylinder is not leaking before transporting it.
- Use an open vehicle where possible. If using a closed vehicle, ensure there is good ventilation.
- Always make sure the cylinder is properly secured so it cannot move, even during emergency braking.
- Unload cylinders as soon as possible.
- Do not use or store cylinders in a vehicle.
- Should your vehicle be involved in a fire, call the Fire Brigade and inform them that you are carrying a high-pressure balloon gas cylinder.
- If you are carrying a load containing 20 or more balloon gas cylinders your journey may come within the scope of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations.
BOC maintain and check their stock of cylinders to the most rigorous standards, ensuring their integrity and safety at all times.
As a user of BOC cylinders you will be aware that a commonly used method for testing gas equipment for leaks is to apply a leak detect solution.
Leak detect solutions are soapy in nature and leaks are indicated by the presence of bubbles.
When using such leak detect solutions it is important to ensure the solution is compatible with the materials used in the equipment construction.