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Compressed Gases

Self-Transport by Hand & Foot

Staff may personally move (self-transport) compressed gas cylinders by hand & foot between buildings and in connecting spaces (i.e., hallways, elevators, etc.) within buildings provided it can be done safely. The following safety precautions apply:

  • Use standard cylinder dollies to transport compressed gas cylinders. While dollies are preferred, cylinders weighing 11 Kg (25 lbs) or less may be hand-carried.
  • Never move a cylinder with a regulator connected to it.
  • Cylinder valve-protection caps and valve-opening caps must be in place when moving cylinders. Lecture bottles and other cylinders that are not normally equipped with valve-protection caps should be transported in either the original manufacturer’s package or an equivalent container.

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Self-Transport by Vehicle

Staff are authorized to personally move (self-transport) small quantities of most compressed gases by vehicle. Use the flowchart below and follow the applicable restrictions and guidance. 

Controls & Limits for Self-Transport of Compressed Gases by Vehicle

General Requirements
General requirements are designed to minimize the likelihood of inadvertent movement in a vehicle or a gas leak during transport and to communicate important hazard information to others. General requirements must be followed and include:

  1. Check to see if there is a viable alternative that can transport the compressed gas cylinder on your behalf (such as Shipping or the Lab’s compressed gas vendor).
  2. Modify your Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to indicate that you self-transport small quantities of compressed gas by vehicle.
    1. Simply add a sentence to your description of work until new JHA questions reflect this activity.
  3. Complete EHS0657, Self-Transporting Haz Mat
    1. Currently under development and as of May 2013, this is a recommended course only.
  4. Package, label, mark and secure cylinders in a suitable vehicle (i.e., one that has adequate ventilation in the event of a product leak and an adequate method of securing the cylinder during transportation) as described below.
  5. Take care when lifting a cylinder into the vehicle to avoid injury.
  6. Inform the driver/passengers of the compressed gas cylinders being transported and the safety controls in place.
  7. Include a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet during transportation.
  8. As a best practice, print a copy of the LBNL “Materials of Trade” disclaimer and keep it with the hazardous material during transportation.
  9. Complete a task-based job hazard analysis for the specific work being performed.

No additional outer packaging is required when self-transporting a compressed gas cylinder.

Never move a cylinder with a regulator connected to it. Cylinder valve-protection caps and valve-opening caps must be in place when self-transporting cylinders. As a best practice, lecture bottles and other cylinders that are not normally equipped with valve-protection caps should be transported in either the original manufacturer’s package or an equivalent container.

Labeling and Marking
Compressed gas cylinders must have a diamond shaped label with the hazard class. This will be a Division 2.1 (flammable gas) or Division 2.2 (non-flammable, non-poisonous gas) label such as the example below.

Compressed gas cylinders must be marked with the full, non-abbreviated common name of the hazardous materials to identify the material it contains. It must also be marked with the “UN” number if the contents are regulated hazardous materials (typically on the shoulder label with the hazard class information) and the amount of the material contained (in metric units). As a best practice, include the owner and the recipient’s name and phone number with the cylinder.

Examples of cylinder shoulder label with common name, hazard class and UN number

Compressed gas cylinders must also be marked by the cylinder manufacturer or retester with the last hydrostatic test date of the cylinder, which is usually required every 5 years. This will include a calendar year stamped on the top of the cylinder. If the cylinder has not been re-certified within the past 5 years, do not self-transport this cylinder, and contact the cylinder vendor for removal.

Example of hydrostatic testing markings (last
tested 2010, previously 2004, 1998 & 1993)

Cylinders must be adequately restrained during self-transportation so they are not free to move while the vehicle is in motion. The exact method of restraining the cylinder will vary between vehicles and cylinder type, and this information will be included as part of the additional work authorization. In practice however, this means the vehicle must have tie down points where ratchet-style tie-down straps or other robust types of restraints can be attached (see photo for an example). Bungee cords and seat belts are NOT adequate for securing cylinders.

If possible, secure and transport compressed gas cylinders in the back of a government pickup truck. If transporting pressurized cryogens, transport is limited to the open bed of a pickup truck.

Ratchet-style tie downs attached in 2 locations to prevent movement.

Seats in van removed. Tie downs attached to structural supports used for the seats.

Example of adequately secured cylinders  

Task-Based Job Hazard Analysis
Self-transporting compressed gas cylinders in a vehicle must be covered by a task-based job hazard analysis (this requirement does not apply to staff who are fully trained to DOT requirements and follow all of the DOT shipping requirements).

The task-based job hazard analysis must document how the specific cylinder(s) will be secured in the specific vehicle and the controls used to prevent leakage, oxygen displacement or a potentially dangerous atmosphere. LBNL bases these controls on the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) Position Statement (PS-7), Safe Transportation of Cylinders in Passenger Vehicles.

The controls listed in the work authorization need to include these requirements when they are applicable:

  1. Keep a copy of the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet in the vehicle as well as a copy of the work authorization
  2. Use a government truck and transport the cylinders in the bed of the pickup truck (if this is a feasible option)
  3. Ensure the cylinder is properly packaged, marked, labeled and secured
  4. Listen for leaks – do not transport a leaking cylinder
  5. Visually inspect the cylinder for dents, gouges or pits
  6. Ensure cylinder valve is securely closed
  7. Ensure that the valve protection device, where provided, remains in place until the cylinder is ready for use
  8. Flammable gases, such as propane, should not be transported in the same vehicle with any containers of oxygen or other oxidizing materials
  9. Maintain maximum ventilation in the area where the cylinder is stored (i.e., store in the bed of a pickup, keep windows open, etc.)
  10. Take a route to the destination that is most direct with no unnecessary intermediate stops (gas stops, bathroom breaks, etc. being “necessary” stops)
  11. Be aware that environmental conditions such as heat exposure may cause the temperature of the cylinder to rise to excessive levels that could lead to a release of product even if the ambient temperature is relatively low
  12. Always maintain adequate fresh air ventilation and ensure that container vents (if present) are not blocked or covered
  13. Transport liquefied flammable gas cylinders in the upright position
  14. Do not put cylinders in trunks of cars or unventilated areas of passenger vehicles if oxygen deficiency or explosive atmosphere is a potential risk
  15. When the destination is reached, promptly remove the cylinder from the vehicle
Contact the EHSS Haz Mat transportation subject matter contact (x8128) to assist with this process.

Self-transportation of any compressed gases on the shuttle bus is prohibited. 

Resources Available to Staff
Staff can always contact Shipping (x5084, x4388 or to request transportation assistance. If requesting transportation assistance, provide at least 72-hour notice to Shipping. Staff may also contact LBNL’s compressed gases vendor and request transportation on-site.

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Ship by Common Carrier

Shipping requirements are different from self-transportation requirements. Some items like dry ice and lithium batteries that are not regulated for self-transportation in a vehicle are regulated when shipped in commerce.

Contact Shipping (x5084, x4388, or to arrange for shipment including pick-up and same day shipments. Please note that same day shipments must be at Shipping before 12:00 P.M. Shipments requiring next day delivery in the U.S. must be at Shipping on or before 2 P.M.

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Conduct Field Work

Self-transporting hazardous materials to or from the field follows the same requirements documented under Self-Transport by Vehicle.

Shipping to the field follows the normal shipping process. However, if hazardous materials must be shipped from the field, contact Shipping (x5094, x4388, or as early as possible to plan for this activity. Depending on the specific activity, additional training and controls may be required.  

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Return Cylinders

Empty Gas Cylinder Return Procedures

April 2013
The following summarizes the different requirements for returning empty and unwanted compressed gas cylinders. Compressed gas cylinders should always be handled as if they were “full” and must be transported in compliance with applicable Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous materials requirements. This includes proper labels and cylinder caps. Always clearly identify “empty” cylinders with an affixed “EMPTY”, “MT” or “RETURN” tag.





See contact information for Matheson Gas

See procedure for Matheson Gas

Air Liquide

Shelley Taniguchi
(800) 323-2212

Air Liquide does not make regular deliveries or pick-ups from LBNL. Call Customer Service to make special arrangements. Identify the number of cylinders, types of gases, and cylinder ID number engraved on the cylinder collar.

Air Products

See contact information for Airgas

See procedure for Airgas


See contact information for Airgas

See procedure for Airgas


Customer Service
(800) 336-4004

Neil O’Donnell
Progressive Industries
(773) 763-9565

Airgas makes deliveries and pick-ups from LBNL, but these can be infrequent. Call Customer Service if cylinders are accumulating and need to be picked-up. In addition, gas cylinder returns can be requested through the Airgas EBuy website.

LBNL- Owned

LBNL Procurement
Laura Sanders
(510) 486-4592

Cylinders are identified with a “LBNL” stencil on the cylinder body. They normally have Airgas labels affixed. Procurement will make arrangements for pick-up and scrapping.


Theresa Birk
(908) 329-9779

Complete and submit a Linde return form. Linde does not pick-up empties directly. They will send Yellow Freight to pick-up. Yellow Freight only knows to go to the B69 shipping dock, so call LBNL Transportation (X4388) and arrange to have the cylinders moved there first.


Louise Arata
(510) 793-2559 X109

Matheson does not make regular deliveries or pick-ups to LBNL. Identify the number of cylinders, types of gases, and cylinder ID number engraved on the cylinder collar. There is a $60 minimum charge for cylinder pick-up with additional charges depending on the number of cylinders.


Monique Ortiz
Customer Service
(925) 431-2263

Steve Scagliotti
(925) 431-2297

Praxair makes regular deliveries and pick-ups of gas cylinders at LBNL. Place any “empty” cylinders in the designated empty cylinder rack and they should be picked up automatically within a few days. If cylinders are not getting picked-up as needed, let Customer Service know.

Scott Specialty Gas

See contact information for Air Liquide

See procedure for Air Liquide


Lori Thomas- Sales
(951) 653-6780

Scott-Marrin does not pick-up empties from LBNL. They need to be shipped directly back through LBNL Transportation (X4388). Transportation will pick-up the cylinders with account number and MSDS. Also see the Scott-Marrin cylinder return guidelines.

Spectra Gas

See contact information for Linde

See procedure for Linde

Lecture Bottle (LB) Size Cylinders
Gas cylinder suppliers no longer take back lecture bottle (LB) sized gas cylinders. These are now considered as “single use” containers and the contents must be disposed as hazardous waste through the LBNL Waste Management Group. Submit a completed Hazardous Waste Disposal Requisition. Pick-up and disposal is available about every 6 months.

Cylinders with Unknown Contents
Contact the LBNL Waste Management Group for assistance. Arrangements will need to be made with the disposal vendor to sample and analyze the gas before disposal requirements can be determined.

Cylinders with Out of Business Vendors
Contact the LBNL Waste Management Group for assistance. The cylinder will need to be properly disposed.

Cylinders with Missing Caps or Labels
Contact the vendor directly and notify them that you need a cap or label for one of their cylinders when picking up. There may be a charge for replacement depending on the vendor, but many vendors have these items on their trucks and are willing to help if the vendor is no longer available.
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Special thanks to Ron Scholtz for all his hard work pulling together this comprehensive list.