Lab Safety


Chemical SOP - Compressed Gases

IsoLab, Department of Earth and Space Sciences


This chemical standard operating procedure (SOP) is for your safety. Read, understand, and follow this document. If this is a paper copy, you should check for the most recent version here: This document was created from a template modeled after the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Laboratory Safety Manual Standard Operating Procedures Components, which, as of 160818, is located here. If this link breaks, search the UW website for "chemical sop components".

Are inert compressed gases a particularly hazardous substance? NO

What is a particularly hazardous substance? The University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety defines it here.

The SDS for all IsoLab compressed gases can be found here. You should also have taken the EH&S compressed gas training.

1. Process Name

Most of the processes in IsoLab use compressed gases. They are prevalent and abundant and lab personnel need to be aware of how to be safe around them.

2. Chemical Name

IsoLab has inert compressed gas cylinders containing helium, nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide. The main health hazard of these compressed gases is asphyxiation due to venting or sudden release displacing breathing air. The other major health hazard is a catastrophic release resulting in projectiles.

3. Personal Protective EquipmentPersonal protective equipment are not needed when handling inert compressed gas cylinders.
4. Environmental / Ventilation Controls

No environmental or ventilation controls are required for inert compressed gases.

5. Special Handling Procedures & Storage Requirements

Compressed gas cylinders must be fastened securely at all times whether in use, transit, or storage. Cylinder safety caps must be in place whenever cylinders are not in use for an extended period of time or during transport. Proper valves and/or regulators for the specific gas must be used. Transport large cylinders only on an approved dolly or cart. IsoLab's two cylinder dollies are located in 302A near the door to 302C.

6. Spill and Accident Procedures

IsoLab is unique in its rapid turnover of air when the building circulation is working properly. However, in the event of a catastrophic or sudden release, personnel should prop open lab doors and move to a more ventilated area until normal breathing air is restored. A sudden release is also quite likely to be very loud. If it is safe to stop the release, find ear protection in 302C.

7. Waste Disposal

Empty inert compressed gas cylinders should be marked 'empty' by removing the lower portion of the paper tag and returned to Praxair by transporting the cylinder the ATG loading dock and securing it in the outdoor compressed gas cylinder area.

8. Special Precautions for Animal Use (if applicable)N/A
Particularly hazardous substance involved?NO, ignore 9-11
9. Approval Required


10. DecontaminationN/A
11. Designated AreaN/A


I have read and understood this Chemical SOP: