Handling Helium: Health & Safety

Non-flammable and non-toxic, helium balloon gas doesn’t react with other elements in normal conditions. Even so, knowing how to properly handle helium is essential, as it can lead to errors in judgement and fatal situations due to someone not realising its potential dangers.

As helium is used in many everyday situations, proper care and handling of helium containers is vital.

 

Effects on Health

Although helium isn’t toxic, the fact that it’s a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas can in itself cause issues. Helium can displace the oxygen in the air down to unbreathable levels and cause asphyxiation as you might not realise you are inhaling it.

Excessive inhalation of helium can lead to vomiting, dizziness, loss of consciousness, nausea, and, in extreme cases, death. The low oxygen levels are also a concern, as they cause loss of consciousness and death very quickly.

 

Storage and Handling

If you aren’t using helium, its containers must be left in a properly ventilated area to ensure oxygen isn’t displaced. When handling the containers, you shouldn’t tip them or place them on their sides – helium containers should always be in a vertical position. They should also be secure if you plan to transport them to another location, to prevent these situations from happening.

To avoid contamination, ensure that any valve from the liquid containers isn’t open to the atmosphere for longer than necessary. Situations to avoid are also storage of helium canisters in damp rooms, or rooms with altered conditions that can affect the integrity of the canister.

For extra security, don’t open canisters without the proper adapted nozzle; helium is stored at high pressures and it can be dangerous if the nozzle isn’t secure in place. Although non-flammable, helium should never be stored in a high-temperature room. When temperatures increase, helium expands and can cause an accident. In the winter, should you store canisters indoors, don’t open them outdoors.

 

When Inflating Balloons

The correct way to inflate balloons, and avoid helium waste or balloon rupture, is to ensure you always have the appropriate filling kit for the balloons that are being inflated. In addition, balloons should only be filled up to when the correct size is achieved; when in doubt, always underfill the balloons.

Tying the balloons securely is also important in order to avoid an accident, and the helium’s release must be minimised as the filling kit is being connected or removed. Always be sure not to inhale helium from a pressurised tank to avoid lung tissue rupturing!

 

At Fill n’ Away we always put safety first, so feel free to speak to one of our experts if you are unsure about the condition of a helium canister.  If you have any queries or want to know more about our disposable helium containers and refillable helium containers, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by giving us a call on 0800 195 4445. Our friendly team is always happy to help!

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