CGA’s M-24 Publication Guides Mitigation of Oxygen Hazards in Healthcare Environments

February 24, 2021

Oxygen is widely used to treat symptoms of COVID-19. Some therapies use large quantities of oxygen or it is used in areas of healthcare facilities not designed for oxygen use. These uses can create oxygen-enriched atmospheres containing greater than 23.5% oxygen. Although oxygen itself does not burn, oxygen-enriched atmospheres can enhance combustion of items like clothing and bed linens. To avoid incidents involving oxygen it is important to understand the associated risks and mitigation practices.

Materials that can be ignited in air require less energy to ignite in the presence of an oxygen-rich gas or oxygen-rich atmosphere. Many of these materials can be ignited by different sources of ignition such as friction or expansion when oxygen at high pressure is rapidly introduced into a system that is initially at low pressure. For equipment containing or using liquid oxygen there needs to be an additional awareness of its low temperature properties, to prevent against accidents involving frostbite and cold burns.

Published by the Compressed Gas Association, CGA M-24, Standard for Mitigating Oxygen Hazards in the Health Care Environment (Formerly SB-31), provides general requirements for personnel handling and using oxygen and oxygen-rich gases and associated equipment in healthcare environments.

We are providing safety publication CGA M-24 free of charge for all those who may need it, to help ensure that all healthcare facilities and their employees have access to the necessary information to facilitate a safe response to the COVID-19 pandemic.