Remember me
Lost Password Register

Aluminum tank safe handling
08-17-2004, 04:37 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-17-2004, 04:45 PM by WIdiver_Paul.)
Aluminum tank safe handling
In light of the recent tragedy that occurred at the shop where I do most of my airfills in northern florida when cave diving ( I just want to reinforce a few points for everyone's safety when it comes to tanks.

Note: This message is not intended to swear you off diving! Millions of fills are performed in dive shops across the world, and accidents are extremely rare. As long as common sense and regular care is used with your gear, there is little chance of there being an issue. You are much more likely to be struck by lighning or get in an accident on the way to the dive site!!

Firstly, and this is something that I'm sure we all take for granted even though it's drilled in class: Please handle tanks like the bombs that they could be... This includes not leaving tanks in an upright position if you're not physically in control of them; to handle them gingerly when loading and unloading; and when transporting them, to try to secure them so they don't move around or slide around, either into each other or into something else. Perhaps tank carriers would be a good idea for transporting them (all it takes is a length of rope and some foam swimming noodles, $1.44 ea. At Wal-Mart in 6 foot lengths) and this could help greatly. Another thing to keep in mind that aluminum tanks exposed to temps greater than 140 degrees fahrenheit should be destroyed, due to the change in the metal elasticity characteristics as a result. This means keeping them out of hot cars in the summertime.

There are several tanks out there which are quite old, and perhaps it's time to retire them, or at least hydro them annually. Any tank that is older thank 1988 is probably of the 6351-T6 variety, and should be cut in two. It's not worth your life, and tanks are pretty cheap. Unfortunately Luxfer ended their $50 trade-in for should-be-recalled tanks in May, but scrap tanks are worth about $30 at the scrapyard. And if you can afford it, please consider purchasing the higher priced Steel tanks, there are many excellent choices. The Pressed Steel LP-80 is a great tank and is priced in the $225 range, made right here with Wisconsin labor. The extra weight will allow you to drop about 5 pounds off your weight belt as well. The advantage to steel is when it fails, it tears, and doesn't explode.

Watching your back (literally),
Paul Lothary,
Hoofers Scuba Club Divemaster

More information below for your reading pleasure: (nice photos) (destroyed automobile photos) (list of recalled tanks) (OSHA hazard alert)

This message is from Mrs. Anderson, wife of Ken, whose leg was injured in the blast at Cave Excursions; My post about Tank Safety is in the honor of her request and to honor Fran Slaughter:

This is the first time I have read this forum, but I am sure I have met many of you as you dive in the caves or met in passing at Bill's as I sat in a chair either reading a book or doing needlework, as I was when the explosion happened. I would hope that everyone will shed their nonchalance with tank safety. As all three of my children dive with their father, they all have been cautioned about tank safety but most people have become nonchalant with tank safety. I would hope none of you will have to experience a blast like that as I know it will be a very long time before we all recover. The physical injuries will be gone long before our memories of the accident. Ken and Chris are on their way back to Michigan, I return on Friday. Please be supportive of Bill and Pat. This was a horrible accident.

One more note from Paul:

To assist funeral expenses for Fran and her youngest son, Patrick, donations are being accepted on her behalf. I have donated and if you ever thought about the safety and low pay of anyone doing your fills, could you please donate to:

Patrick Slaughter
C/O Cave Excursions
20338-180th Trace
Live Oak, Fl. 32060


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

.jpg_thumb   Fran_2.jpg_thumb (Size: 33.78 KB / Downloads: 3)
08-17-2004, 05:34 PM,
Re:Aluminum tank safe handling
I heard about this - very sad :'(

And good tips on the tank safety.
11-04-2012, 10:04 PM,
RE: Aluminum tank safe handling

I have seen an awful lot of old Aqualung (Luxfer) aluminium cylinders on Craigslist lately.

A number have followed my advice to scrap the 6351 cylinders, but many have not!!!

One local shop had a 6351 cylinder come back from eddy current testing as a "PASS", but had a hissing crack in the neck found upon filling. So eddy current testing should not be trusted!
DEW >&ltWink)>

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)