Standards FAQ Details | Joint Commission
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Sunday 11:40 CST, March 18, 2018

Standards FAQ Details


Environment of Care (EC) (Hospital and Hospital Clinics / Hospitals)

Oxygen Cylinder - Storage Management
Modify | April 11, 2016
What are the requirements for oxygen cylinder storage and the segregation of full, empty, and partial tanks?

Physical Storage of Cylinders
Storing oxygen cylinders, as per NFPA 99-2012,, is about managing empty cylinders. Those cylinders defined as empty by the organization shall be segregated from all other cylinders that are intended for patient care use. Full and partially full cylinders are permitted to be stored together, unless the organization's policy requires further segregation.

Empty cylinders shall be marked as such by either individual tagging, as indicated by the integral gauge (and defined by policy), or group signage, as appropriate. Organizations must assess cylinders without an integral gauge in order to determine the capability to provide safe patient care delivery and implement the assessment according to its policy.

For example, if a rack of twelve cylinders were in an area and four of the cylinders were determined to be empty, they must be segregated from the other cylinders and labeled as empty per NFPA 99-2012, and If there was a rack designated for empty, the designation would accomplish the “marking” of the cylinders by the nature of the labeled empty rack.

For those cylinders outside of protected storage
Up to 300 cubic feet (i.e. 12 E cylinders) of non-flammable medical gases may be stored outside of enclosures within a smoke compartment (22,500 square feet). All cylinders shall be attached to a cylinder stand, properly attached to equipment, or properly racked. NFPA 99-2012, states that individual small-size cylinders (A, B, D, or E) available for immediate use in patient care areas shall not be considered in storage. Immediate use includes the following:
  • emergency designated cylinders (i.e. crash cart)
  • designated to transport equipment that is not in storage
  • actively in-use
For the purpose of calculating the aggregate total, empty and immediate use cylinders will not be included in the volume limitations noted in section 11.3; that is, full and partially full cylinders will be considered full for aggregation purposes.

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