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Have We Learned Anything About Safety Over the Last Fifty Years? (Nov/Dec-22)
OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards (Sep/Oct-22)
Have You Conducted Your Periodic Lockout & Tagout Audit? (Jan/Feb-22)
Workplace Violence (Jul/Aug-21)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-21)
Creating A Safety Culture (Nov/Dec-20)
Before You Purchase New Machinery (Sep/Oct-20)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-20)
OSHA Issues Interim Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Mar/Apr-20)
Have You Recently Conducted Your Required Safety & Health Program Audits? (Nov/Dec-19)
Does OSHA Cite Employers Equally? (May/Jun-19)
Are You Ready For The New Year? (Mar/Apr-19)
Creating a Safety Culture Means Staying Informed (Nov/Dec-18)
Safe Lifting Techniques (Sep/Oct-18)
Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Jul/Aug-18)
Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are? (Jan/Feb-18)
Risk Assessment & Premise Liability Insurance (Nov/Dec-17)
Forklift Safety – You Can Save A Life Today (Sep/Oct-17)
Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress Related Injuries (Jul/Aug-17)
Lockout-Tagout from a Manager’s Perspective (May/Jun-17)
Do Your Employees Really Know How to Use Personal Protective Equipment? (Mar/Apr-17)
OSHA & Lockout/Tagout (Nov/Dec-16)
OSHA Increases Their Penalties Towards Employers (Jul/Aug-16)
Do You Know What Your Experience Modification Rate Is? (May/Jun-16)
Machine Safety (Sep/Oct-15)
Lockout, Tagout & Tryout – Are You in Compliance? (Jul/Aug-15)
Forklift Safety Practices (May/Jun-15)
Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials (Mar/Apr-15)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-15)
Ergonomics (Sep/Oct-14)
Respiratory Protection . . . Does Your Program Protect? (May/Jun-14)
First Aid Program (Mar/Apr-14)
Working with Composite Materials Safely and Preventing Dermatitis (Jan/Feb-14)
Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls (Nov/Dec-13)
The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication – Are You Ready For It? (Sep/Oct-13)
Safety & New Employee Orientation (Jul/Aug-13)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety (May/Jun-13)
Posting of OSHA Notices (Jan/Feb-13)
Staying Safe This Winter (Nov/Dec-12)
Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety

Many industries use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to operate their machinery, heat their places of employment or use it for their industrial truck operations or other industrial use. LPG is also used by many people in their homes for their BBQ or for running appliances.

What is LPG?

Liquefied petroleum gas is a colourless odourless liquid, which readily evaporates into a gas. Normally an odorant has been added to it to help detect leaks. LPG (either Butane or Propane) is generally stored and distributed as a liquid and it is widely used for process and space heating, cooking and automotive propulsion. It is classified as highly flammable and if it contains more than 0.1% Butadiene, it is also classified as a carcinogen and mutagen. LPG is non-corrosive but can dissolve lubricants, certain plastics or synthetic rubbers.

What are the dangers of LPG?

LPG may leak as a gas or a liquid. If the liquid leaks it will quickly evaporate and form a relatively large cloud of gas, which will drop to the ground, as it is heavier than air. LPG vapours can run for long distances along the ground and can collect in drains or basements. When the gas meets a source of ignition it can burn or explode. Cylinders can explode if involved in a fire and LPG can cause cold burns to the skin and it can asphyxiate at high concentrations.

How do you work safely with LPG?

Identify the LPG cylinders used in your workplace. These may be propane, acetylene, butane, or propane/butane mixture. If you use this article for a safety meeting topic, then bring a cylinder of the most-used LPG to the discussion area. If cylinders are not available or difficult to bring, you can use photographs as visual aids. Identify, and bring with you, the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for all LP gases used by your company. Check the areas where LPG cylinders are stored for your location, and note any problems in the storage area.

A variety of industries use LPG cylinders for many applications. Storage and handling of these cylinders depends upon the type, size and use. A few storage and handling requirements apply to all these cylinders. Of primary interest is the flammability of LPG at temperatures between 0 and 120°F. This safety topic will discuss the storage and handling of portable cylinders smaller than 100-pound gross weight.

Most liquefied petroleum gases used in industry are not classified as toxic. The greatest hazard in working with these cylinders is the risk of fire or explosion.

Common uses for LPG include: acetylene for welding and cutting is dissolved in acetone to reduce the chances of auto-polymerization. This allows high-volume storage of acetylene at low pressures; propane for lift truck motor fuel is normally mounted horizontally in a specially designed bracket. Specific training is required to avoid mis-mounting the cylinder; propane used for other motor fuels may be attached for use of the liquid or the gas portion of the fuel. Cylinders designed for use of liquid fuel and those designed for using the fuel as a gas must be stored separately; propane/butane mixtures for utility and construction site heaters are in 20-pound cylinders that commonly have no specific brackets. These must be secured in an upright position to avoid tipping over.

Review with the group the types of LPG cylinders used. Ask where the LPG cylinders are stored in your workplace, and add any storage areas not mentioned by the group.

Review the reasons the cylinders are stored in these areas. Go over the fire protection, security and inspection of the areas. NFPA recommends a fire extinguisher of 18 pounds of agent or more for cylinder storage areas. For security, always lock cages or storage rooms with controlled keys.

Ask the group where is it not safe to store LPG cylinders. Add that NFPA says they should not be stored on roofs, in ways of exit, under or on stairways, in areas of public access or near sources of ignition.

Ask the group how they get an LPG cylinder when they need one. Recognize the correct answers and review the procedures, including:

  • Who has access?
  • How to transport the cylinder to the point of use.
  • Always check the cylinder for leaks (by odor), and have the safety pressure release valve at the vapour space of the cylinder (as marked on the cylinder). It must be secured against dropping or rolling, and must never be carried by holding onto the valve or connecting port.

Ask the group what you should check for when connecting a cylinder. Possible answers include:

  • Oil, grease, dirt or corrosion on the connections.
  • Damaged connections or connecting hoses.
  • Damaged mounting brackets.
  • An odor after the cylinder is attached. If the odor persists, the connection is leaking.

Ask the group what you should do if the connection is leaking when a fresh cylinder is being attached.

  • For minor leaks, back off the connection and reseat the connectors.
  • For a large leak, or if the second attempt fails, remove the cylinder, mark it as defective and try another.
  • Observe caution to avoid freezing the skin from contact with the gas or liquid.

Go over the storage areas with the group. Note the reasons the storage areas are located as they are. Review the answers given in the discussion, and reinforce the most important points, such as: inspection of the cylinder before use, care in transporting the cylinder, testing for leaks when attaching a fresh cylinder, and avoiding sources of ignition in the storage area and when connecting a cylinder.

Address any concerns expressed by the group, and follow up the meeting with answers that are not immediately available.

Group Actions

Ask the group to inspect the cylinders (or photographs) used as training aids, and take down any comments or questions they may have. Have the group review any MSDSs you brought to the meeting.

Ask the group to look over the storage area when they are nearby, and think through the next time they might need to change a cylinder.

Have the members of the group who do not normally change cylinders observe others as they perform the task correctly.

Always check a cylinder for leaks (by odor), and have the safety pressure release valve at the vapour space of the cylinder (as marked on the cylinder). It must be secured against dropping or rolling, and must never be carried by holding onto the valve or connecting port.

Should you have any questions concerning this subject, please feel free to contact me. Should you need an OSHA Mock Audit, our team has over 100 years of combined experience dealing with safety, health and environmental issues.

You will achieve the level of Safety that you demonstrate you want to achieve - it is either safe or it is unsafe.

For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.

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