Q: Our Respiratory Therapist has brought this question to me and I wanted your input. We have the new ‘E’ size oxygen cylinders that are called Oxytote. They are the “grab and go” cylinders with the built in regulators and on the top there is a very nice carrying handle. These cylinders are more efficient for us for several reasons, however our staff tends to carry them by the built in handle instead of having it secured in a cart. According to NFPA 99 only cylinders larger than ‘E’ size are to be transported using a hand truck or cart. We are hearing that Joint Commission is not allowing other places to transport these Oxytote cylinders by the handles. What are your thoughts?
A: After reviewing the operator’s manual for Oxytote cylinders, it is obvious that the handle provided by the manufacturer is intended to be used to transport the ‘E’ size cylinder. Also, according to NFPA 99, ‘E’ size cylinders are not required to be transported on carts or hand trucks, as you pointed out. Joint Commission does not have a standard that prevents the Oxytote ‘E’ size cylinders to be transported by grasping the manufacturer provided handle. Since NFPA 99 does not prevent it and since Joint Commission does not prevent it, I believe you are perfectly within your own right to carry the cylinder by the handle if you wish.
As far as you hearing other healthcare providers being cited by Joint Commission for carry Oxytote cylinders by the handle; don’t believe everything you hear. However, if a surveyor indicates that is a problem, tactfully ask the surveyor to show you in the standards where it prohibits that practice. If they claim it is an unsafe practice, then show them the operator’s manual from the manufacturer.