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Section: 56.4601
Date: 04/30/2013
District: NC
Negligence: Low
Injury or Illness: Unlikely
Injury or illness could be expected to be: Fatal
Significant and Substantial: No

Condition or Practice: Two full oxygen bottles were being stored on the west wall of the shop located within 7 feet of several grease guns and nine feet from one box of mystic JT grease (9 tubes) and one box of FS Spectra lube grease (7 tubes). No ignition sources were present and the area had good ventilation. The caps were secured on the oxygen tanks and were secured with a chain. The area is accessed by the owner as part of normal mining operations to store/retrieve grease and tools as part of maintenance. This condition exposes miners to fatal injuries from an explosion. The condition had not been previously cited nor was it recognized as a hazard.

Action to Terminate: Oxygen bottles were moved and are no longer stored near the grease.

Why this concerns you: These oxygen bottles and grease tubes have been stored in the same place since 2005. However, the standard is pretty clear so I guess I was out of compliance even though common sense leads me to believe this is not a problem because the bottles are securely stored and chained to the wall. The inspector mentioned something about building a box around the tanks or a box for the grease tubes but he closed out the inspection after I moved the oxygen bottles to the other side of the room, more than 25 feet away. I've learned the field office supervisor has instructed his inspectors to follow the OSHA rule which states tanks must be at least 25 feet away.
Here is the MSHA rule:

30 CFR ยง 56.4601
Oxygen cylinder storage.
Oxygen cylinders shall not be stored in rooms or areas used or designated for storage of flammable or combustible liquids, including grease.

I'm still questioning the use of the OSHA guidelines and may move these oxygen bottles outside of the building.

Abatement Suggestions From Industry

I question how I can have oxygen bottles on a service truck with grease on it also. Does this mean I can have an oxygen bottle hooked to a torch but not a spare oxygen bottle on the truck?
- posted on 05/02/2013

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