Bulletin: Identifying High Pressure Gas Cylinders from Japan

In an effort to continue to help authorities identify the various hazardous (and non-hazardous) items that may have been carried out to sea from the Japan tsunami in 2011, the following information was provided by Japanese officials familiar with the specific marking standards for high pressure containers (or cylinders).  Web links are also provided for reference.

A PDF of the information from this page is also available here Japanese Gas Cylinder Info.

According to Vessel safety regulations for the High Pressure Gas Safety Act (law), gas cylinder color is coded as follow:

Type of Gas             Color
Oxygen  ————-  Black
Hydrogen  ———-  Red
CO2  —————– Green
Ammonia ———– White
Chlorine ———— Yellow
Acetylene ———– Brown
Other gases ——— Gray

In addition to above color, below information need to be clearly marked on the vessel.

  1. Name of the Gas
  2. If it’s flammable or toxic, mark character of the gas in Chinese character. (if it’s flammable “燃”, if it’s toxic “毒”)
  3. Mark owners name, address, and phone number of the vessel.

Photo samples of Japanese cylinder

This is a example cylinder picture for hydrogen. It’s Red and marked “燃”.

Flammable and toxic is picture for mixture gas (N2 and diborane) and colored gray and marked “燃” (flammable) and “毒” (toxic).

Also below pdf shows picture (not photo) of color coding of gases described in above.

What if you can’t see the color or markings?

Experts say in the event it’s difficult to identify the cylinder contents due to rust or wear, the only the way to identify type of gas inside of cylinder is to check for stamp on the cylinder neck/shoulder.  For example, “N2+B2H6” can be seen on the cylinder shoulder of “flammable and toxic” picture above.

The High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan (KHK)

Originating source: Atsushi Fujita (Mr.) / 藤田淳司
Regional Inventory Management / Yokosuka Section (C453.1)
Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka, Japan
Forwarded through US EPA Region 9 

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