Date: January 2003
6. Accidental Release Measures
STEPS TO BE TAKEN IF MATERIAL IS RELEASED OR SPILLED: CAUTION! High-pressure
gas. Helium is an asphyxiant; lack of oxygen can kill. Evacuate all personnel from danger area. Use self-
contained breathing apparatus where needed. Shut off flow if you can do so without risk. Ventilate area or
move cylinder to a well-ventilated area. Test for sufficient oxygen, especially in confined spaces, before
WASTE DISPOSAL METHOD: Prevent waste from contaminating the surrounding environment.
Keep personnel away. Discard any product, residue, disposable container, or liner in an environmentally
acceptable manner, in full compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. If necessary, call your
local supplier for assistance.
7. Handling and Storage
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN STORAGE: Store and use with adequate ventilation. Firmly
secure cylinders upright to keep them from falling or being knocked over. Screw valve protection cap
firmly in place by hand. Store only where temperature will not exceed 125°F (52°C). Store full and empty
cylinders separately. Use a first-in, first-out inventory system to prevent storing full cylinders for long
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN HANDLING: Protect cylinders from damage. Use a suitable
hand truck to move cylinders; do not drag, roll, slide, or drop. Never attempt to lift a cylinder by its cap;
the cap is intended solely to protect the valve. Never insert an object (e.g., wrench, screwdriver, pry bar)
into cap openings; doing so may damage the valve and cause a leak. Use an adjustable strap wrench to
remove over-tight or rusted caps. Open valve slowly. If valve is hard to open, discontinue use and contact
your supplier. Never apply flame or localized heat directly to any part of the cylinder. High temperatures
may damage the cylinder and could cause the pressure relief device to fail prematurely, venting the
cylinder contents. For other precautions in using helium, see section 16.
For additional information on storage and handling, refer to Compressed Gas Association (CGA)
pamphlet P-1, Safe Handling of Compressed Gases in Containers, available from the CGA. Refer to
section 16 for the address and phone number along with a list of other available publications.
8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
LOCAL EXHAUST–Use a local exhaust system, if necessary, to prevent oxygen deficiency, and in
welding, to keep hazardous fumes and gases below applicable TLVs in the worker’s breathing zone.
MECHANICAL (general)–General exhaust ventilation may be acceptable if it can maintain an
adequate supply of air and keep hazardous fumes and gases below applicable TLVs in the worker’s
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION: Use air-purifying or air-supplied respirators, as appropriate, where
local or general exhaust ventilation is inadequate. Adequate ventilation must keep worker exposure below
applicable TLVs for fumes, gases, and other by-products of welding with helium. See sections 3, 10, and
16 for details. An air-supplied respirator must be used in confined spaces. Respiratory protection must
conform to OSHA rules as specified in 29 CFR 1910.134.
SKIN PROTECTION: Wear work gloves when handling cylinders; welding gloves for welding.
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