There are times when dealing with Medical & Laboratory Gas Systems that you may find, or are asked to identify, cylinders which either have no means of identification (including colour code) or appear to be in an extremely fragile condition.
Under no circumstances should you open a cylinder valve to attempt identification of contents, which could be toxic, corrosive, carcinogenic or even explosive on release.
The cylinder must be segregated from all others, labelled ‘Danger - Do Not Use’ and an attempt made at locating the supplier. Failing this, you will need to ask for the cylinder to be removed by a special waste contractor OR possibly via contacting the local Council Environmental Officer.
GREEN cylinders are sometimes seen attached to medical equipment. These are probably imported American Oxygen Cylinders and should NOT be used.
Hospices throughout the country deal with a high volume of cylinders that are brought in from the community with the Patient.
These are then left in the Hospice’s Empty Cylinder Store and usually are of an identifiable source.
However, there are some cylinders that slip through the net, as shown by the Oxygen cylinder below – this is actually a German manufactured cylinder and would need disposing Of by the method(s) mentioned above.
ORANGE cylinders (below) found on site could contain CYCLOPROPANE, a potent anaesthetic, no longer in use but cylinders continue to be found. It is extremely explosive and is known to ignite spontaneously on opening the cylinder.
Unmarked, out of date and damaged cylinders should be reported to the Pharmacy Dept. and, until collected by a supplier, labelled as ‘not for use’ and segregated from all other gases, particularly Medical Gases.