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Monday 6:15 CST, September 1, 2014

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January 29, 2014
 

Clarification of storage requirements for freestanding medical gas cylinders

Improper storage of medical gas cylinders poses a number of hazards to patients and staff. The National Fire Protection Association’s regulation NFPA 99-1999 section 4-3.5.2.2(b) mandates requirements for storing nonflammable gas cylinders. The Joint Commission requires compliance with the NFPA requirements under Environment of Care standards EC.02.06.01, EP 1 and EC.02.03.01, EP 1. This article provides some new clarifications to these requirements.

  • Segregate cylinders: It’s critical that staff in a hurry don’t spend time choosing between full, partial and empty cylinders. The Joint Commission requires organizations to segregate full, partial and empty cylinders by physically separating and clearly labeling the cylinders. Organizations can do this by using separate racks, physical barriers, or color-coding the storage rack.
  • Empty cylinders: Once a cylinder valve is opened, it is considered empty, even if gas remains in the cylinder. For storage purposes, any opened cylinders must be physically separated from full (unopened) cylinders. An organization can have a full rack, a partial rack, and an empty rack, as long as unopened cylinders are segregated from all opened ones.
  • Minimize fire risk: Because a full cylinder with a malfunctioning valve can create an oxygen enriched environment which presents a potential fire risk, there is a limit to the number of medical gas cylinders that can be stored in egress corridors. NFPA 99-2005 Section 9.4.3 (see also CMS S&C-07-10) limits the number to 300 cubic feet (12 cylinders) of nonflammable medical gas.

In addition, to ensure medical gas safety, medical gas cylinders should always be secured, and repairs should be completed by qualified staff. For more information about Joint Commission requirements for freestanding medical gas cylinders and piped medical gas, see the December 2012 issue of Joint Commission Online. (Contact: George Mills, gmills@jointcommission.org)
 

 

COMMENTS (6 Comments)

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Editor
From George Mills, Director, Department of Engineering, The Joint Commission: Regarding cylinders with integral gauges: these are delivered full, and should be segregated from any cylinder that has been used. Although the 2012 edition of NFPA 99 does allow for the organization to define empty, which is not our issue here, NFPA 99-2012 does not allow for the definition by the organization of full. So, we must assume supplier delivered cylinders with integral gauges are delivered full, and should be segregated as full from any cylinder (with or without integral gauges) that has been used.
12:00 AM May 1st
 
Editor
From George Mills, Director, Department of Engineering, The Joint Commission: Regarding limiting the number of medical gas cylinders that can be stored per egress corridor, the number (12) does not include the empty cylinders.
12:00 AM May 1st
 
dadymc - Austin, TX
The issue of Oxygen E Cylinder storage continues to baffle me considering that the most frequently used cylinders these days are either the "Grab N Go" or "EZ-Ox", neither of which require a regulator and both of which have an easy to read contents gauge very similar to a gas gauge in a car. Because of this, it seems to me that the argument could be made that these do not really need to be segregated since you can tell by a quick glance if a cylinder has sufficient contents to manage your task at hand. In other words, no matter which cart they might be in, you still need to check the contents gauge to assure you have enough to complete your task.
11:26 AM Apr 30th
 
PJ Dotson RRT - Park City, UT
Just for some clarity, the limit to the number of medical gas cylinders that can be stored per egress corridor, does this number (12) include the empty cylinders?
12:00 AM Apr 30th
 
Editor
From George Mills, Director of Engineering, The Joint Commission: The intent of Joint Commission Online is to provide brief articles, not in-depth articles. Regarding those cylinders with built in regulators, we would consider one that has not been used to be full and stored accordingly.
12:00 AM Apr 2nd
 
Alan Wyatt - Oakley, CA
How will this work on cylinders that have built in regulators such as "Grab and Goes" since they are not "opened?" I believe this decision is a case of people making decisions that do not have full knowledge on the subject.
9:57 AM Apr 1st
 
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