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Safe Handling and Storage of R-32 Cylinders

New guidelines and regulations have been placed on the packaging, shipping, handling, and warehousing of flammable refrigerants. Building codes for each state are adapting regulations to ensure safe practices for storing and using A2L refrigerants. Currently, Arkema Inc. only fills R-32 in DOT-4BA cylinders, which are refillable. Below are some of the guidelines and regulations put in place specific to flammable refrigerants contained in DOT-39 and DOT-4BA/W cylinders.
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1. All A2L refrigerant cylinders, according to Guideline N, should have a red stripe indicating it is a flammable gas.
2. All A2L refrigerant cylinders should be stored with the vapor space in contact with the pressure relief device, unless the cylinder is under 1.2L, according to 49 CFR 173.301.
3. All A2L refrigerant cylinders over 1.2 L or 2.2 lbs of R-32 are required to have a relief valve and not a rupture disc, according to DOT regulations.
4. National Fire Safety Storage Requirements:
  • Permit from the local fire code official
  • Hazardous Materials Management Plan
  • Hazardous Material Inventory Statement
  • Requires visible hazard identification signs (NFPA 704 signs) around storage areas
  • No smoking signs around the storage area
  • No open flames or high-temperature devices (could include warehouse heaters) in storage areas
  • Empty tanks/cylinders with heels are to be stored and handled as a filled cylinder until placed under a full vacuum
  • SDS must be available on site
  • Upright storage to keep the vapor space in contact with the relief valve