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Cryogens

Self-Transport by Hand & Foot


Staff may personally move (i.e., self-transport) small quantities of cryogenic fluids between adjacent buildings and in connecting spaces (i.e., hallways, stairs, etc.) within buildings, provided it can be done safely. Basic safety precautions must be taken including:

  • Cryogens must be transported in containers specifically designed to store cryogens. Consumer products such as Thermos® bottles are not approved for cryogenic applications. Although the container itself may hold cryogenic liquid in an adequate manner, the lid, even when loosely applied, does not allow for proper venting of boil-off gases.
  • In most situations, large dewars (i.e., greater than 5 liters) with wheels can safely be moved from the cryogen filling station to the lab. If the large dewar does not have its own wheels, the dewar must be secured to an appropriate dolly and transported to the use area.
  • Staff must ensure that the route to be taken is free of obstructions.
  • Staff must wear appropriate PPE to protect the eyes and skin when transporting cryogens around buildings.
  • At the conclusion of operations, LBNL staff and affiliates must verify that appropriate valves are shut off.

Elevators: Additional Safety Precautions
The transportation of cryogenic liquids in elevators represents a potential asphyxiation and fire/explosion risk if workers become trapped in an elevator with a dewar of cryogen. Additional safety precautions include:

  • People must not ride in an elevator in which large cryogen dewars are being transported.
  • When large dewars are transported in an elevator, a clearly visible sign must be used to warn staff and students not to enter the elevator while the dewar is present. After the dewar reaches its destination, the person transporting the dewar will remove the dewar from the elevator and return it to normal service.

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Self-Transport by Vehicle


Staff are authorized to personally move (self-transport) small quantities of most cryogenic substances by vehicle provided they use simple controls to prevent spills and the spread of contamination. Use the flowchart below and follow the applicable guidance.

Controls & Limits required for Self-Transporting Cryogens by Vehicle

flow chart


General Requirements
General requirements are designed to minimize the likelihood of spills and leaks 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 such as using Shipping resources.
  2. Modify your Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to indicate that you self-transport small quantities of hazardous materials 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. Complete EHS0170, Cryogen Safety.
  5. Package, mark and secure containers as described below.
  6. Take care when lifting a dewar into the vehicle to avoid injury.
  7. Inform driver/passengers of the cryogens being transported and the safety controls in place.
  8. Include a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet during transportation.
  9. As a best practice, print a copy of the LBNL “Materials of Trade” disclaimer and keep it with the hazardous material during transportation.

Packaging, Marking and Securing

  • Receptacles must be constructed with glass double walls having the space between the walls vacuum insulated
  • Receptacles must be transported in an outer packaging with sufficient cushioning and absorbent materials to protect the receptacle from damage. (Outer packaging is not required for dry shipper containers.)
  • Receptacles must be marked with the owner’s information including a phone number.
  • Receptacles must be placed in an open area (i.e., pickup truck bed) of the vehicle and secured against movement during transportation.

Prohibitions
Self-transportation of cryogens on the shuttle bus is prohibited.  Cryogens in unpressurized receptacles cannot be transported inside an enclosed part of a vehicle. “In” a vehicle means inside a vehicle cab, a covered bed, enclosed cargo area or other enclosed area of the vehicle.

Resources Available to Staff

Staff can always contact Shipping (x5084, x4388 or shipping@lbl.gov) if they have questions or if they need to request transportation assistance. If requesting transportation assistance, provide at least 72-hour notice.

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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 shipping@lbl.gov) 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 shipping@lbl.gov) 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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