Updated: Dec 2, 2020
As dangerous goods consultants we see a lot of common mistakes when storing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in exchange cages. In this article we look at the ventilation requirements for LPG exchange cages.
This article is general information only. Want expert advice, specific to your needs: get in touch.
Anyone who has used a gas oven, cooktop or barbecue has heard the hissing of the gas as it's released and smelt that rotten eggs smell from the odourant. A few have even had the pleasure of regrowing their eyebrows after letting the gas run for too long...
LPG is stored compressed into a liquid inside the cylinder which if released can form a cloud 270x the size of the stored liquid. A large cloud of flammable gas is unsafe for everyone nearby, not just from the risk of fire, but LPG also can cause asphyxiation due to the exclusion of oxygen. Although rare, a release of LPG can occur if cylinders are damaged, tampered with or exposed to excessive heat. An operator of a site with LPG exchange cages must take certain steps to minimise the consequences of a release of LPG.
Steps to reduce the risks from hazardous atmospheres are required in WA by the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-Explosives) Regulations. Regulation 57(1) states:
"An operator of a dangerous goods site must otherwise ensure that all risks associated with the presence of a hazardous atmosphere within the site are eliminated or, if this is not reasonably practicable, the risk arising from the hazardous atmosphere is minimised"
A release of LPG would create a hazardous atmosphere as per Regulation 57(1):
"...hazardous atmosphere means an atmosphere that — (a) does not contain a safe concentration of oxygen for breathing; or... (c) contains dangerous goods of Division 2.1 ... so that the concentration of the dangerous goods is more than 5% of the lower explosive limit for the goods..."
One of the best methods for reducing the risk from hazardous atmospheres is to keep the LPG Exchange cage outside in a location with good ventilation. The open space will allow the LPG to rapidly disperse to a safe concentration. Be careful though, the vapour is heavier than air so it has a tendency to accumulate in low areas and keep well clear of any openings into buildings or other spaces where the LPG can become trapped.
When choosing a location for your LPG Exchange Cage ensure that it is adequately ventilated and:
Clear on at least two sides of any obstructions such as displays, bins, walls etc.
At least 1m from any opening into a building
At least 1.5m from any drains, pits, basements or other low point where it can accumulate
At least 1.5m from a public place, such as a public footpath, bus stop, residential property etc.
Need assistance picking a suitable location for your exchange cage? Get in touch and Cadre's dangerous goods consultants can guide you through the requirements and alternative controls available.
Did you have any of these issues on your site? Hopefully this article helped you provide adequate ventilation for your LPG cylinders. If you found that useful, check out some of the other common mistakes with LPG Exchange Cages:
If you have other dangerous goods storage onsite, we also have articles on some other dangerous goods storage types.
Although these are some common mistakes, remember there are a whole heap of other compliance and safety issues associated with LPG exchange cages. Make sure you check your DG risk assessment and get in touch if you have any questions!
This article was prepared as general guidance only and based on information current at time of publication. The use of this information is at the reader's own risk, Cadre Engineering accepts no liability for any outcomes of following this guidance. For expert advice, specific to your needs, please get in touch.