Available Now: 2023 Schedule of Hazmat & RCRA Training

Summer Safety is a Gas, Gas, Gas!

Posted on 7/3/2019 by Kim Folger

Summer is in full swing and it seems like every weekend there’s another carnival, fair, or festival in town.  If you’re like me, you want to spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors, doing everything from cooking, to camping, to tubing and rafting. 

What do all of these activities have in common?  Compressed gases!

Whether for bug spray or beer, compressed gases make being outside even more enjoyable. We use propane for grills and lanterns and compressed air for blowing up tires and inner tubes.  They use loads of them at the fair – helium for balloons, liquid nitrogen to make Dippin’ Dots®, and even Whac-A-Mole® at one time used air cylinders to raise and lower the moles.

While compressed gases can make our lives easier and fun, there are several hazards associated with them. All compressed gases pose a physical hazard because they are pressurized. Some are also poisonous, corrosive, extremely cold, or can cause fires and explosions.

Even non-flammable, non-toxic gases can cause oxygen deficiency and create an asphyxiation hazard. Cylinders of pressurized gases can range from small pocket size sprays to large cylinders that are used to heat and/or cool entire facilities. Improperly used, stored, or transported cylinders can cause major incidents. The gas can escape so fast that the cylinder becomes a rocket.

Many compressed gases pose multiple hazards, and should be used with extreme caution, both in the workplace and at home, regardless of the size or type of hazard.

OSHA Safety Standards for Compressed Gases

There are two standards that OSHA enforces when it comes to all compressed gases. First, 29 CFR 1910.1200, the Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard requires that employees receive information and training on hazards they are exposed to. 

Second, 29 CFR 1910.101, the Compressed Gases Standard, provides personnel with general requirements to follow when inspecting, handling, storing, or using compressed gases. In addition, if you deal with certain gases, such as acetylene, hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrous oxide, there are additional OSHA regulations that may apply to you.

Per the HazCom standard, OSHA divides gases under pressure into four categories:
  1. Compressed gas (e.g., helium)
  2. Liquified gas (e.g., propane)
  3. Dissolved gas (e.g., acetylene)
  4. Refrigerated liquified gas (e.g., liquid nitrogen)
OSHA has specific definitions for two additional types of gases, flammable gases (ones that burn) like butane, and oxidizing gases (ones that help other materials burn), for example, oxygen. OSHA also categorizes gases that are acutely toxic (what we would typically think of as “poisonous”) based on lethal concentration (LC50) values.

US DOT Hazmat Regulations for Compressed Gases

US DOT hazardous materials regulations (HMR) define hazard class 2, compressed gases, in 49 CFR 173. The three divisions found in Class 2 are based on type of additional hazard the gas has, if any.
  1. Division 2.1: Flammable (e.g., acetylene and propane)
  2. Division 2.2: Non-flammable, non-poisonous compressed gas (e.g., helium and nitrogen)
  3. Division 2.3: Gas poisonous by inhalation (chlorine)
shipping compressed gas
US DOT does not assign packing groups to indicate severity for compressed gases, as it does for most common hazardous materials. Only division 2.3 hazmats are assigned one of four hazard zones, based on inhalation toxicity lethal concentration (LC50) values as indicated in the table below. 
inhalation toxicity compressed gasses

While there are fun applications for compressed gases, the main thing to remember is that the damage hazardous gases can do is no joke! Compressed gases are always dangerous, so learn how to store, handle, use, and ship them safely by taking Lion’s HazCom: Compressed Gases Online Course

For training to inform and protect employees who work with other common hazardous materials, take a whack at any of our online OSHA/HazCom training courses.

Tags: compressed gasses, DOT, hazard communication, hazmat shipping, osha

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I think LION does an excellent job of any training they do. Materials provided are very useful to my day-to-day work activities.

Pamela Embody

EHS Specialist

The instructor made the class very enjoyable and catered to the needs of our group.

Sarah Baker


I have over 26 years of environmental compliance experience, and it has been some time since I have attended an environmental regulations workshop. I attended this course as preparation for EHS Audits for my six plants, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Frank Sizemore

Director of Regulatory Affairs

The instructor was probably the best I ever had! He made the class enjoyable, was humorous at times, and very knowledgeable.

Mary Sue Michon

Environmental Administrator

This training broke down the regulations in an easy-to-understand manner and made them less overwhelming. I now feel I have the knowledge to make more informed decisions.

Amanda Oswald

Shipping Professional

These are the best classes I attend each year. I always take something away and implement improvements at my sites.

Kim Racine

EH&S Manager

Lion's course was superior to others I have taken in the past. Very clear in the presentation and the examples helped to explain the content presented.

George Bersik

Hazardous Waste Professional

The instructor did an excellent job presenting a very dry subject; keeping everyone interested and making it enjoyable.

Marc Bugg

Hazardous Waste Professional

Amazing instructor; real-life examples. Lion training gets better every year!

Frank Papandrea

Environmental Manager

Lion's online training is more comprehensive, has better slides, and is a superior training experience than what I would get from other trainers.

Robert Brenner

District Environmental Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Some limited quantity reliefs are reserved for specific modes of transport. Use this guide to identify which reliefs you can capitalize on, and which do not apply to your operations.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.