Storage of gases

All storage areas for gases should follow these basic principles:

  • be well ventilated.
  • be outdoors (if a store is in any location other than outdoors, then additional controls are required).
  • have adequate security (to manage access to the storage area).  Security advice is available in BCGA CP 40.   
  • meet the required separation distances.  Guidance is available in BCGA GN 41.  

When deciding on the location, design and subsequent construction of a store the process must be subject to a site specific risk assessment, taking account of all relevant legal and permit requirements.

BCGA provide several documents providing advice for storage:

  • BCGA CP 44 – for gas cylinders and bundles 
  • BCGA CP 18 – for special gases     
  • BCGA CP 26 – for bulk carbon dioxide         
  • BCGA CP 36 – for bulk inert and oxidant cryogenic fluids        
  • BCGA CP 46 – for bulk flammable cryogenic fluids         

It is usual for bulk tanks to act as a gas source and to be connected into a distribution system.  In some circumstances, stores may be set up to allow selected gas cylinders and bundles to be connected into a distribution system.  Such a gas supply and distribution system shall meet specific requirements.  BCGA provide advice on our Pipework webpage and in:

Where cryogenic gases are stored in small quantities, BCGA provide advice in:

For specific biomedical cryogenic storage systems, BCGA provide advice in:

  • BCGA CP 45 – Biomedical cryogenic storage systems      



CP4 Gas supply and distribution systems (excluding acetylene) Revision 5: 2020

15/06/2020 Codes of Practice CP4

Provides the minimum safety practices and principles for the selection and assembly of pressure equipment to control and distribute gases. Details the requirements for the design, installation, testing, commissioning and handover of a pressure system. It sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Designer, the Installer and the User.

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CP5 The design and construction of manifolds using acetylene gas from 1.5 to 25 bar Revision 3: 2016

15/06/2016 Codes of Practice CP5

Covers the design and construction of acetylene gas manifolds, working at pressures from 1.5 bar up to 25 bar, to which single or multiple cylinders can be connected. The statutory requirements in such systems are detailed.

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CP18 The safe storage, handling and use of special gases. Revision 3: 2014

01/09/2014 Codes of Practice CP18

Provides technical and safety guidelines and principles for the safe storage and handling of special gases in transportable containers up to the point where product is provided at the required pressure and flow at the junction with the user process.Guidelines on disposal are also given.The safe operation of processes is not included, although many of the principles given in this Code will apply.

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CP26 Bulk liquid carbon dioxide storage at users’ premises. Revision 3: 2012

01/09/2012 Codes of Practice CP26

The design, installation, operation and maintenance of bulk liquid carbon dioxide storage systems at users’ premises. All tanks up to 250,000 litres capacity are included.

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CP30 The safe use of liquid nitrogen dewars. Revision 3: 2019

01/09/2019 Codes of Practice CP30

Covers the storage, maintenance, handling, filling and use of dewars. Specifically addresses the use of liquid nitrogen in open dewars and dewars fitted with liquid withdrawal devices operating at less than 0.5 bar.

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CP36 Cryogenic liquid storage at users’ premises. Revision 2: 2013

01/09/2013 Codes of Practice CP36

This document covers the installation of cryogenic liquid storage tanks and associated equipment at customer sites. For liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon. Tank sizes range from 0 to 125000 litre water capacity.

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Private: CP40 Security requirements for the industrial, medical and food gases industry. Revision 2: 2020

01/09/2020 Codes of Practice CP40

This document addresses the issues surrounding the security of industrial, medical and food gases (including in liquefied form) and associated items held in bulk, as cylinder stock or in transport. It provides advice on implementing security as well as reacting to security incidents.

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CP44 The storage of gas cylinders. Revision 1: 2022

17/06/2022 Codes of Practice CP44

This document defines the principles of safe practice for the storage of gas cylinders and bundles. It promotes the use of an outdoor store, with good natural ventilation, in a secure location, which meets the required separation distances.

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CP45 Biomedical cryogenic storage systems. Design and operation. 2021

17/11/2021 Codes of Practice CP45

The design, installation and operation of systems used for the storage of biomedical materials at cryogenic temperatures, using liquid nitrogen as a sacrificial refrigerant.

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CP46 The storage of cryogenic flammable fluids. 2016

01/09/2016 Codes of Practice CP46

This document covers cryogenic flammable liquid storage tanks and associated equipment at customer sites. Tank sizes range from 0 to 125000 litre water capacity. It provides guidance on their design, installation, commissioning and the operation of cryogenic flammable liquid storage installations.

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GN41 Separation distances in the gases industry. 2020

03/08/2020 Guidance Notes GN41

Clarifies BCGA’s meaning of, and recommendations for, separation distances. This edition has collected many separation distances used in BCGA publications into a single document. Future revisions of this Guidance Note will review, further develop and consolidate the separation distances.

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