Transporting Personal Oxygen Bottles in Vehicles – Is it Safe?

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atrc, assistive, technology, resource, center, iqp, safety, transporting, transport, oxygen, bottle, vehicle, safe, safety


The goal of this project was to assess the risks involved in the transportation of personal oxygen bottles and to determine ways to reduce these risks. Oxygen tanks are prescribed to individuals whose lungs cannot solely supply enough oxygen. These individuals may have conditions such as Emphysema, Sarcoidosis, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and other heart and lung diseases. Transportation of oxidizing gases poses many safety risks since they can explode and cause fires. There are standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Compressed Gas Association, and others on the containment, storage, and handling of the compressed oxygen gas and liquid oxygen but there are no regulations regarding how these personal oxygen bottles must be secured during transportation in vehicles. To aid in determining the risks involved with transporting oxygen, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to potential clients, current standards were investigated, and accident statistics were analyzed. Analysis of the responses was used in conjunction with the established risks to assess the severity and likelihood of hazard occurrence. The major hazards were determined to be an oxygen-enriched environment, combustion, and the transformation of the bottle into a projectile in the case of an accident. Suggested regulations to minimize these risks were to secure the bottle vertically around the center of mass of the bottle with a restraint, ventilate the vehicle properly, and prohibit smoking in the vehicle. Implementation of these safety standards would reduce the risk of injury to an individual during the transportation of a personal portable oxygen bottle.