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University of Colorado Denver

Environmental Health and Safety, University of Colorado Denver


Lab Emergencies

Compressed Gas Cylinders

Compressed gases and cryogenic liquids are commonplace in our research and maintenance operations. Knowing the specific properties of a gas is essential for the safe handling and storing of a gas cylinder.

Important Gas Cylinder Handling and Storage Guidelines:

  • Secure all cylinders, empty and full, to prevent them from being knocked over or falling.
  • Check to see that the cylinder contents are identified on a tag on the cylinder valve. Do not rely on color-coding.
  • Store cylinders in a well-ventilated, dry area, free from excessive heat and sources of ignition.
  • When the cylinder is not in use, keep the cylinder cap on.
  • Flammable gas cylinders should always be stored at least 20 feet away from oxygen and other oxidizers or separated by an approved fire barrier. This does not apply to individual welding carts.

For additional guidelines for the safe handling and storage of compressed gas cylinders please refer to UCD Gas Cylinder Guidance document

Emergency Contact Information

EHS provides emergency contact tagging for every laboratory space that is in use. Each space is assigned to the responsible Principal Investigator with up to three emergency contacts per tag. Personal numbers are provided to the UCD Police Department, while the UCD Police contact number is posted on the tag 303-724-4444. Please contact Alison Welch (303-724-2532) or Kara Franke (303-724-2271) to update emergency contact information.

Emergency Preparedness Quick Reference Guides

Please make sure that current Emergency Preparedness guides are available in each laboratory. To obtain a current copy of the UCD Emergency Preparedness Quick Reference Guide please visit the UCD Emergency Preparedness Web Site or contact Essi Ellis, Assistant Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

Fire and Life Safety

For information about fire and life safety at UCD, please visit the UCD Fire and Life Safety web page.

Important Laboratory Fire Safety Guidelines:

  • More than two gallons of a flammable material must not be stored outside of an approved flammable rated storage cabinet. Reduce the amount of flammables on hand to less than 2 gallons per area or store inside an approved flammable storage cabinet.
  • Flammable liquids may not be stored in standard lab refrigerators, freezers or cold rooms unless it is specifically designed for the storage of flammable materials or the flammable liquid is stored in sealed secondary containment and kept under 500 ml of total volume.
  • Flammables must be stored away from sources of heat or ignition.
  • Flammables must be stored away from all oxidizing chemicals.
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