CLASSE Safety Handbook

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Compressed Gas Safety

Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety

Many of the compressed gases used at CLASSE can be hazardous. While most gases are used in areas equipped to minimize hazards, be aware of the following dangers:
  • GasCylChain.jpgpressure: is the cylinder secure? are connecting gas lines leak checked?
  • toxicity: (check the SDS)
  • flammability: pyrophoric and explosive (check the SDS)
  • reactivity: corrosive and oxidizers (check the SDS)
  • asphyxiation: would oxygen concentration dip to a dangerous level if the entire cylinder emptied into the room?

Because of these potential hazards, treat gas cylinders with caution. Always store them in cool, dry, well-ventilated areas with their protective caps in place. Keep cylinders well-secured, whether using or transporting them (i.e. chain or belt them to a wall, handtruck, or other firm support). Store full cylinders separated from empty ones.


FlamGas.JPGGasCylStor.JPGGenerally gas should be ordered through the standard blanket-order contract, which should cover the vast majority of applications; speciality gases not available on the blanket-order system should be pre-approved with the CLASSE Safety Director to assure that proper training and controls are in place for storage and use. Gas cylinders not currently in use should be stored, capped and secure, outside Wilson Lab (just outside L0E) or in B29 Newman. Full stored cylinders are separated by flammable vs. non-flammable contents. Within each category, empties should be segregated as well. At Wilson, empty and full cylinders containing flammable gases are stored in cages on the driveway ramp; empty and full cylinders containing non-flammable stock gases are stored near the loading dock door.

Large-scale gas storage

A 13,000 gallon liquid nitrogen tank near the Wilson loading dock serves as the primary source of low pressure dry nitrogen (as well as of liquid nitrogen). Between the driveway and L0E there is a 25,000 gallon tank used for helium gas storage for the cryogenics system. Liquid nitrogen is stored for Newman Lab in a 6000 gallon dewar which is located nearby, adjacent to Olin Lab. Cylinders are also stored outside at Newman Lab near the loading dock. At PSB, gas cylinders in use are stored in designated areas near the laboratories; nonflammables in an interior hallway adjacent to all the third floor labs, and flammables in a separate room in the northeast corner.

Gas systems are concentrated in several areas of Wilson Lab. Other small systems are located throughout Wilson and Newman Labs.

Accelerator Gas Safety

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which is both non-toxic and non-flammable, is the only gas used in the accelerator. It is a heavy gas that is used to stop electrical arcs from occurring. It is kept in a thirty-five-pound tank in the LS2 hallway east of the control room and is piped in copper tubing to the klystron tubes and into the Linac waveguides.

L0 Vent

There is a vent system in the L0 experimental hall that can quickly exhaust any contaminated air outside the building. The L0 Vent buttons are located on the CHESS control panel, the West Flare, and the CESR Control Room. If you know of a leak of toxic or explosive gas, or suspect a large venting of cryogenic liquids in the Wilson Lab experimental areas, inform a CHESS operator or CESR Operator immediately, who will activate the L0 venting system. The operator will likely request evacuation of all personnel from the affected areas.

Vacuum Lab Gas Safety

Several small containers of low-pressure gases are used in the vacuum lab. Some of the gases kept are hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, xenon, oxygen, neon, argon, and helium. Because the quantity of the gases used in the vacuum lab is so small, they pose little or no health or safety hazard. Most of these gases are used to check calibrations and for vacuum tests.

Welding Areas

Newman Lab, Wilson Lab, and the Annex all contain welding areas. Several different gases are used for cutting, soldering, and welding. These gases include oxygen, propane, nitrogen, argon, acetylene, argon/helium, and carbon dioxide. : EHS Hot Work/Welding page

Always keep combustibles away from oxygen gas because the combination is highly flammable.

Always perform welding in an area where others are unlikely to be exposed to the harmful intense light from arcs, erecting opaque screens and/or placing signage warning of the hazard Make sure the welded object is allowed to cool before anyone can come into contact with it, attaching signage if it will be left unattended.

End of Gas Safety
Topic revision: r21 - 27 Aug 2021, RigelLochner
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