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Guidelines for the Transport of Medical Gas Cylinders

The Health and Safety Executive advise that oxygen cylinders as used in dentistry, which include a regulator, hose and mask, form part of a “ready to use” set. As such they are exempt from the Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) by virtue paragraph 1.1.3.1 (b) [1]. However, measures should be taken to prevent leakage of contents in normal conditions of carriage [2,3].

Duty-holders are required to carry out a risk assessment and provide appropriate training for users under other legislation such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations.
Such training should cover:

  1. The properties of the medical gas;
  2. The correct operating procedures for the gas cylinder;
  3. The potential hazards associated with the transport of medical gas, including the precautions and actions to be taken in the event of an emergency or oxygen leak.

Carry out a risk assessment to determine the potential hazards associated with the transport of medical gas cylinders. Record the findings, any action taken and keep assessment under review.

Ensure that all staff members who undertake domiciliary visits are trained in the use of portable medical gas cylinders and the hazards associated with them.

Inform the relevant car insurance company if a vehicle is being used to transport medical oxygen. There is normally no additional charge for the carriage of D size cylinders.

When transporting medical gas cylinders, ensure that:

  • the cylinder valve is properly closed;
  • the equipment is carried securely in the vehicle;
  • the equipment is carried in purpose-made bags or cases;
  • the equipment is removed from the vehicle as soon as possible.

Never store medical oxygen in a vehicle.

Sources of Information

  1. Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (2021) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
  2. Emergency Drugs and Equipment in Primary Dental Care. National Dental Advisory Committee (2015) www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2015/01/8495
  3. Do exemptions apply to carriage in cars by medical staff? Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations FAQs. Health and Safety Executive. (2009) www.hse.gov.uk/cdg/commonproblems/medicalgases.htm