Compressed gases and liquids are used for a variety of purposes at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Some examples include:
- Medical gases are supplied via ports in the walls in clinical settings, and portable medical gas cylinders are also used during patient transport.
- Compressed liquids are used to cool the magnets used in the MRI facilities.
- Compressed gases and liquids are used in the clinical and research laboratories.
Compressed Gas & Liquid Hazards
Compressed gases and liquids pose several special hazards:
- Projectile: If a compressed gas or liquid cylinder ruptures or if the cap is knocked loose, the cylinder turns into a very dangerous projectile that can cause serious injury and damage. For this reason alone, it is very important to always keep cylinders secured.
- Oxygen Displacement: When large containers are ruptured, the contents are released with such force that breathable oxygen is actually forced out of a room. This is especially hazardous in small rooms or areas where very large volumes of compressed liquids are used, such as in an MRI facility.
- Fire: Some gases are flammable, and some gases are oxidizers, which promote fire through the release of oxygen. If an acetylene gas cylinder ruptures, it is both a hazardous projectile and a fire hazard.
Available in the VUMC Learning Exchange:
- Cryogen Safety (required annually)
- Medical Gas Safety & Emergency Response for System Failures (required one time only)
Also available in the VUMC Learning Exchange, Chemical & Physical Safety in the Lab includes some information about compressed gases and liquids.
- VUMC Policy Compressed Gas Safety Precautions
- VUMC Safety SOP - Cryogenic Liquid/Gas Safety Precautions
- VUMC Safety Alert: Oxygen Gas Cylinders & Patient Beds
- Compressed Gas Safety Links
If you have questions about compressed gases or liquids, please contact someone in the OCRS Hospital & Clinic Safety Section or, if you work in a laboratory, contact someone in the OCRS Chemical & Laboratory Safety Section.