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Colouring for industrial gas cylinders header

Colouring for industrial gas cylinders

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Colouring for industrial gas cylinders

The UNI EN 1089-3 Standard provides an identification system for gas cylinders with shoulder colour codes which are different from those presently in use in Italy.
The Ministry of Transport, recognising the opportunity to make the distinctive colouring of cylinders uniform, so as to facilitate circulation of goods in EU Countries, declared with a decree dated 7 January 1999 that:
  • the use of the new colours would be obligatory for new cylinders as from 10 August 1999
  • for cylinders already in circulation the new colours would be adopted on the occasion of their first periodic overhaul as from 10 August 1999 and, in any case, before 30 June 2006.
In general the colour on the shoulder of the cylinder does not identify the gas but only the principal risk associated with it:
  • toxic and/or corrosive yellow
  • inflammable red
  • oxidizing light blue
  • asphyxiating (inert) bright green
Specific colours are foreseen only for the most common gases (oxygen, nitrogen, helium, nitrous oxide).
To identify a gas it is always necessary to refer to the label affixed to the cylinder.
The colour of the shoulder identifies the nature of the danger associated with the transported gas and this is useful when, at a distance, the label is not easily legible.

Essential points of Standard UNI EN 1089-3 and the recommendations of EIGA FEDERCHIMICA-ASSOGASTECNICI for its application in Italy
The Standard is valid for cylinders containing industrial and medicinal gases but is not applicable to bottles of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and to fire extinguishers.

The colour codes concern only the shoulder of the cylinders. In cases where a code in two colours is required, EIGA and ASSOGASTECNICI recommend that these are applied in circular segments, one above the other. However, the Standard allows them to be displayed in alternating quadrants. In general, the body of the cylinder can be painted in any colour that will not cause a mistaken interpretation of the risk associated with the colour of the shoulder. At present (September 1999) in Italy, a green body colouring identifies a cylinder of oxygen or of nitrous oxide for medical use. It is now foreseen that, for the future, these procedures will be modified and that the colour white will be used for all medicinal gas cylinders, in order to conform with prevailing practice in the rest of Europe.

The fact that new Standard coding colours are being used will be shown by a capital letter "N" placed in two diametrically opposed positions on the shoulder, at a height of about 7/10 of the height of the shoulder and in a colour contrasting with that of the shoulder. The use of the letter N is not necessary for cylinders circulating only inside Countries in which the colour characteristics have not changed from those which were previously in use.

Gas mixtures
For gas mixtures, the Standard allows a choice between colouring according to the type of risk and with two colours which identify the principal components. EIGA and ASSOGASTECNICI recommend that the following criteria should be used:
  • Mixtures for respiration including synthetic air (oxygen content of between 20 and 23.5%): use two colour system.
  • Other mixtures: use the colouring according to the type of risk.

Couloring industrial gas cylinders