Background

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas are commonly used for dispensing beverages in the hotel industry. Gas cylinders are normally stored in enclosed cellars or cool-rooms where leaks can result in a build-up of dangerous gas. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are odourless and colourless, so workers cannot detect their presence. When workers enter these areas, they can be overcome before they realise the danger.

Risks

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are asphyxiants; they displace air which reduces the level of oxygen in the atmosphere. They can cause suffocation at relatively low concentrations. Unsafe levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen can cause headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, shortness of breath, unconsciousness and death.

Action required

  • Locate gas cylinders in open air or naturally ventilated areas or install ventilation systems.
  • Fit cellars with a gas monitoring alarm system mounted no more than 600mm off the cellar floor.
  • Install the correct gas monitoring system for the type of gases used.
  • Ensure gas monitoring equipment has visual and audible alarms installed outside the cellar to warn people prior to entry.
  • Ensure gas monitoring equipment is regularly inspected and tested according to AS5034 and AS2005.
  • Train workers in cellar safety procedures and equipment, including how to respond if an alarm is raised (if alarm is raised, restrict entry to cellar or cool-room to appropriately trained and protected emergency personnel).
  • Only allow trained workers to access the cellar or cool room.
  • Carry out weekly leak tests using a detergent/bubble solution.
  • Check cylinder safety devices regularly for damage or obstructions and contact your supplier if you see any.
  • With every cylinder change, fit new O-rings or sealing washers and leak-test the cylinder connections.
  • Keep gas stocks to a minimum – only store what is needed.
  • Ensure gas cylinders are stored upright and are secured with a chain or similar.
  • Ensure cellars, cool rooms and access steps are well lit.

More information

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