Oxygen Tank Storage

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    Ok, I have a question to pose to everyone and would like to see if anyone has any information that could help us out. There is a BIG dilemma (? spelling) at work about this. We have an oxygen tank that is about knee high that is in a carrier/roller it actually sits down in this and has a handle that way we can roll the O2 tank where ever necessary. Ok my question is my shift keeps the O2 tank out because I work in a Rehabilitation Facility that teaches students a trade so that when they leave the center they are trained to go out in the big world and prosper. Ok therefore we have TBI's that are very seizure prone, we have CP, SB and so forth. The other shifts when they come in get upset because the O2 tank is out, they say that it has to be kept under lock and key or that it has to be chained to the wall because if it falls over it would explode. What makes us upset is that last week we had a student that had a seizure when he came down to get his meds and both nurses had to go to him and we HAD to give our keys to security to unlock the med room to get the O2 tank out d/t cyanosis. If the tank was sitting out where we put it then we could have gotten O2 on him sooner. Does anyone know what regulations go with this? I hope I haven't confused you. I told the girls at work I would post this and see what I can learn, so please help us.
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    Fire laws will vary with jurisdiction, but where I work, most of the 02 is stored in a fire-rated room (2 hr burn-through from floor to ceiling) but small amounts--up to four small bottles--can be kept ready for use on the floor, out of the general traffic flow. Pt. rooms have 02 supplied in the walls, and the bottles are for transport, so we keep them with the wheelchairs and carts.

    You probably have a written policy and procedure on this. If you have a safety officer, they can explain it to you and your co-workers. I know our safety officer just loves to explain stuff...more, really, than most of us want to hear.
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    Well, the policy and procedures idea is a joke. Our policy/procedures have not been updated since 1973 no joke. Just about everything in there doesn't even exist anymore. Our new RN is working on this though. We set the tank to the side of the med cart out of traffic flow. My point is that in the med room it's not chained to the wall either so what makes the difference if it is sitting out of the way on the floor or in the med room locked up where we can't get to it in an emergency?
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    Quote from proudmommielpn
    Well, the policy and procedures idea is a joke. Our policy/procedures have not been updated since 1973 no joke. Just about everything in there doesn't even exist anymore. Our new RN is working on this though. We set the tank to the side of the med cart out of traffic flow. My point is that in the med room it's not chained to the wall either so what makes the difference if it is sitting out of the way on the floor or in the med room locked up where we can't get to it in an emergency?
    The risk from the cylinder being knocked over is not from explosion, but from the danger of the valve assembly snapping off when it falls. Imagine blowing up a balloon, then releasing the pressure by letting it go. That cylinder turns into a jet-propelled torpedo, skidding around the floor, bouncing off the walls that it doesn't burst through, and breaking any limbs it may collide with before it empties. That is the reason it needs to be secured to a wall.
    It should also be stored in a well ventilated area in case of leaks, which may well present an increased fire hazard, if not an explosive one.
    Does OSHA have any standards for O2 storage?
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    If bottled O2 is your only source, it certainly does need to be accessible. I would think your med room would need to be accessible, too.

    If your wheeled carriers are anything like ours, the risk of a bottle breaking is considerably reduced when it is in it. We've had a few fall over, and no catastrophes. Not that it isn't still something we try to avoid--but they aren't chained to the wall.

    O2 is pressurized bottles hasn't changed much since 1973, but I can see where other aspects of your operations, such as the type of clients, may have.

    If all else fails, your local fire marshal would be happy to give a definitive answer as to what's acceptable, and it may be more liberal than you'd expect. (At our facility, the Health Dept. does our fire safety inspections, too, so that may be the more appropriate authority.)

    That said, the tanks are under a lot of pressure and are dangerous. You also don't want to add oxygen to support a fire if one starts. And you don't want patients turning blue without it--I wish you luck working out a suitable compromise. It shouldn't be hard, if people are reasonable, but sometimes finding reasonable people can be pretty tricky.
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    Ours are in a designated place, upright and not under lock and key. Tanks are not kept in rooms.
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    Thanks for everyone's help on this subject. I like the part about the tricky people, you must know where I work!

    Quote from nursemike?
    If bottled O2 is your only source, it certainly does need to be accessible. I would think your med room would need to be accessible, too.

    If your wheeled carriers are anything like ours, the risk of a bottle breaking is considerably reduced when it is in it. We've had a few fall over, and no catastrophes. Not that it isn't still something we try to avoid--but they aren't chained to the wall.

    O2 is pressurized bottles hasn't changed much since 1973, but I can see where other aspects of your operations, such as the type of clients, may have.

    If all else fails, your local fire marshal would be happy to give a definitive answer as to what's acceptable, and it may be more liberal than you'd expect. (At our facility, the Health Dept. does our fire safety inspections, too, so that may be the more appropriate authority.)

    That said, the tanks are under a lot of pressure and are dangerous. You also don't want to add oxygen to support a fire if one starts. And you don't want patients turning blue without it--I wish you luck working out a suitable compromise. It shouldn't be hard, if people are reasonable, but sometimes finding reasonable people can be pretty tricky.
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    At my facility oxygen tanks must be stored upright in a carrier. If we do not have a carrier the tank must be sent to the resp dept or they may bring us a carrier. There are some units with cabinets that the tanks can be stored in, the cabinets have velcro straps to hold the tanks. Oxygen tanks should never be stored lying down. If you keep a regulator or flow meter attached it has to be in the off/0 positon. As long as the tanks are stored so that they do not fall over they do not have to be locked up.
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    Same with ours, have to be stored upright in patient rooms in a proper container (rack, cabinet, etc.) or in a designated room in the rack (and ours our chained in that room).

    Actually they just started doing this more, I guess we got a warning that this must be done. We use to keep them in resident's rooms (assisted living) under their bed so they didn't get knocked around...but guess this is a big no no.

    Funny thing I found is that we no longer need the oxygen in use no smoking signs anymore since we are a smoke free establishment inside. I always thought you had to have one, but I guess we don't (but we are assisted living..so I guess things differ..check with your own policies).
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    Our crash cart has a place for an O2 tank to be strapped in, and we also keep an extra tank in a wheeled carrier just in case.


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