The tag line that we adopted when we formed our American specialty gases group within the larger worldwide Air Liquide organization is Molecules that Matter. We felt it summed up what Air Liquide America Specialty Gases is all about: providing meticulously analyzed measures of certain molecules in the form of pure gases or specialty gas mixtures.

In addition to our preoccupation with gas molecules–being diligent about what we do and don’t put into a cylinder (think impurities, the fewer the better)–we’re also passionate about safety. This begins with the safety of our employees and extends to the communities in which our facilities are located, as well as to the safety of our customers.

Not to prove a point, but I took the photo at left showing part of the parking lot at our corporate HQ in Plumsteadville, PA. If you peer through the trees, you’ll notice that all the vehicles have been backed in to their parking slots.

No accident–this. Studies indicate that a driver of a vehicle is more likely to run into something/someone while backing out of a parking space versus heading out of it. Obvious solution: back in to the spot to eliminate the need to back out of it.

In the scheme of things however, parking lot fender-benders are a minor concern when compared to accidents while handling specialty gases. No doubt about it: gases that are pumped into a steel or aluminum container and compressed to the tune of 2,000 or more pounds of pressure per square inch are not to be handled casually. The cylinders alone can weigh well over a hundred pounds. When knocked over, they can break a bone in a New York minute. And if a cylinder itself is somehow compromised due to misuse or improper handling… um, you don’t want to know what can happen.

Actually, if you handle compressed specialty gases, you probably do want to know. So we recently completed a training video that teaches you how to safely handle compressed gas cylinders. Below is a brief preview I put together that we posted on YouTube. The actual DVD runs about 17 minutes and may be obtained by visiting our website at

To help further promote safe handling of compressed specialty gases among our customers, our Equipment Specialists perform what we call i-SEE safety audits. Being a creative right-brainer, I find our equipment folks to be a smidge on the geeky, techie side, but that’s a good thing actually. When you’re dealing with often caustic gases under high pressure, the last thing you want to do is to adopt a cavalier attitude about handling them. During these audits, they inspect a customer’s gas distribution system and general cylinder handling and storage procedures in order to identify: 1) Possible safety hazards, and; 2) Measures by which the performance and efficiency of the system might be improved.

Economic pressures being what they are, just about every company is struggling to reduce costs while maintaining the best possible handle on risk management. An i-SEE audit from ALASG can therefore prove to be a big help in this regard. As a bonus, as part of our audit, we present a copy of this video and review it with the customer’s personnel who handle the gases.