Info 22/16 Potential Hazards of Quick Release Cylinder Valves Used with Firefighting Gases

"Several accidents with quick release valves installed on firefighting system gas cylinders have been reported. In one case, a worker died and in other cases workers suffered bone fractures (shinbone, hand).

In all cases, the cause of the accidents was the unexpected opening of the valve fitted to the gas cylinder during handling, filling, or venting of the cylinder.

The consequences were that the cylinders went out of control after the valve suddenly opened. This type of valve is used on cylinders typically containing carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or gas mixtures in firefighting systems.

They are designed to quickly release a large volume of gas. The cylinder valves referenced in this safety information have many and various designs and are different from standard high pressure valves.  

In addition, this type of valve is often fitted to larger than standard cylinders (e.g., 80 L water capacity) so the hazard created by such a valve unexpectedly opening is increased because of the package size.

These packages can be difficult to manually manoeuvre and secure, resulting in additional risk of cylinders falling over and valves opening or shearing.

This Safety Information gives guidance on cylinders with quick opening valves on how they should be handled taking into account their size and how to make sure the cylinder valve is locked during handling.

This Safety Information is intended for all those involved in the handling of quick opening cylinder valves that are used with firefighting gases. The publication is part of the programme to develop Globally Harmonised publications amongst Regional Gas Associations. "