Oxygen cylinder storage requirements

Updated April 17, 2017

Although oxygen is not flammable, it is a key component in supporting and accelerating combustion. Because of the potential for cylinder rupture if a cylinder is damaged or in a fire, particular care needs to be taken when storing oxygen cylinders. In the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1910.101), it says "the in-plant handling, storage, and utilisation of all compressed gases in cylinders, portable tanks, rail tank cars or motor vehicle cargo tanks shall be in accordance with" Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet P-1-1965. The following information is based on that pamphlet; however, it is best practice to refer to OSHA's (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) website, the current edition of the CGA pamphlet and your state and local regulations for the most current information.


Do not store cylinders in public hallways, in other unprotected areas, near elevators or in narrow passages. Do not store cylinders where heavy-moving objects may strike or fall on them. Protect cylinders from damage and tampering and from the ground, to prevent rusting.


Secure cylinders at all times to prevent tipping by using appropriate material such as chains, plastic-coated wire cable or commercial straps.


Oxygen cylinders must be at least 20 feet away from flammable gas cylinders or the storage area must be separated by a firewall at least 5 feet high and have a fire resistance rating of 30 minutes.


Store cylinders away from direct sunlight and sources of heat and ignition. Do not let storage area temperatures exceed 125°F (51°C). Storage areas must be well ventilated, cool, dry and free of corrosive materials.

Empty and Unused Cylinders

Empty cylinders must be isolated from filled cylinders. Place valve protectors on cylinders when they are not connected for use.

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About the Author

A. Michelle Caldwell left a growing biotech company in 1996 to pursue a career in technical writing and has never looked back. Initially writing only MSDSs, she has branched out over the years to include projects such as ghostwriting a column in the local newspaper. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Brown University and a certificate in copyediting from UCSD Extension.