Oxygen gas is a powerful oxidizer which will rapidly accelerate combustion of many materials. Oxygen cylinders should be handled with care because serious explosions have resulted from contact between oil and high pressure oxygen.  Oil or grease should never be used on connections to an oxygen cylinder or gas line carrying oxygen.  Oxygen is incompatible with all flammable materials and should be stored separately.  

Emergency Procedures

Oxygen is non-toxic under the conditions of usual laboratory use.  Liquid oxygen is cryogenic and is capable of causing severe tissue damage upon exposure.


Never allow oil, greases and other readily combustible substances to come in contact with oxygen cylinders, valves, regulators, and fittings.

Follow all compressed gas general handling precautions when working with oxygen.  Oxygen should not be used as a substitute for compressed air in pneumatic equipment since this type generally contains flammable lubricants.  Contact of liquid oxygen with many organic substances can lead to an explosion.


Oxygen cylinders in storage must be separated from any flammable gas or combustible material by a distance of 20 feet or a non-combustible 5-foot wall with a fire rating of at least one half hour.


Oxygen cylinders should be returned to the compressed gas distributor when emptied or no longer used.

For More Information

See the SDS for oxygen from BOC Gases.