Lab Health and Safety

Provide Guards on Vacuum Pumps & Secure Compressed Gas Cylinders

This is one of the most common OSHA violations. Whenever a pulley/belt assembly is within reach, there needs to be an enclosure to prevent fingers, hair, or clothing from being caught.

James A. Kaufman

Paper cutters are another common device that requires a guard. In both cases, manufacturers can provide the parts to upgrade older units that are missing the necessary protective guards.

Compressed gas cylinders need to be chained in place during storage, transportation, and use. If the valve were to break off, the cylinder will become a rocket causing potentially significant injury and/or property damage. In addition, a falling cylinder can cause crippling injuries.

In the storage area, compressed gas cylinders should be separated according to hazard category: flammables, oxidizers, inerts, and empties. When transported, a wheel cart with a restraining chain should be used. In both cases, the protective cap should be kept on.

There are five different types of valves on compressed gas cylinders. If you don’t know and understand the types of valves, you will not be able to open or close the cylinder properly.

Source: Kaufman, James A., Laboratory Safety Guidelines - Expanded Edition, The Laboratory Safety Institute, www.labsafetyinstitute.org