Do you fill smaller cylinders of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from larger cylinders or tanks at your site? Do you understand the risk? In this article we look at some of the key requirements for safe LPG decanting.
This article is general information only. For expert advice specific to your needs, get in touch.
The most comprehensive reference for the safety requirements for LPG decanting can be found in AS/NZS 1596-2014. Some of the main things to remember:
A decanting cylinder must be:
Outdoors at least 2m from an opening to a building
At least 3m from any drain, pit or basement where the LPG can accumulate
At least 3m from any other dangerous goods storage
At least 3m from combustible materials including cardboard boxes and vegetation
Remember that different requirements apply to decanting from tanks or at service stations.
Decanting of LPG can potentially release a large cloud of the highly flammable gas. As LPG is heavier than air, it can spread some distance along the ground. It is important to keep all ignition sources such as electrical devices, hot surfaces and naked flames well away from the decanting area. The minimum safe distances depend on the setup, but at least 5m is recommended.
Check out this cool augmented reality app from Elgas which shows the hazardous areas for LPG cylinders.
The cylinders and decanting equipment must be protected from impact by nearby vehicles. This protection is usually achieved through a combination of distance from the nearest vehicle pathway and barriers.
AS/NZS 1596 has a useful impact assessment tool in Appendix Q.
Safe procedures are a must when decanting LPG. Procedures as a minimum should include:
correct use of PPE
checking for and removing ignition sources (such as mobile phones)
safe operation of the decanting equipment
checking for leaks
securing cylinders and decanting equipment when not in use.
only keeping the filling controls active using the hand -not locking open the deadman's handle with some other means
Only one cylinder to be filled at a time
Cylinder being filled shall be left on the ground or an electrically earthed surface
A generic procedure is provided in Appendix J of AS/NZS 1596 which can be adapted to suit your purposes.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Always refer to the Safety Data Sheet when handling dangerous goods for the correct PPE. This PPE needs to be provided for use, used correctly and kept in good condition / replaced if necessary. LPG can cause cryogenic burns on contact.
PPE for LPG decanting should include:
Long -sleeved shirt and trousers made from a non-synthetic material
Gloves which provide thermal protection
Make sure your PPE is free of oil and grease to avoid creating a fire hazard!
A powder type fire extinguisher with rating of at least 2A 60B(E) must be provided close to the decanting area. There may be additional fire protection required depending on how the LPG is stored.
SIGNAGE AND PLACARDING
Signage is also required to warn others about the LPG hazard present. Requirements vary depending on the setup but at least the warning: FLAMMABLE GAS - NO SMOKING and a 2.1 class diamond is required.
DG RISK ASSESSMENT
To find out what specific requirements are applicable to your facility, always refer to your Dangerous Goods Risk Assessment. If prepared correctly it will tell you everything you need to do to store and handle your dangerous goods safely. Check out this article below to make sure your risk assessment is up to date.
In this article we look at how to test if your risk assessment is still valid
Remember that all staff should be familiar with the contents of the dangerous goods risk assessment.
You can read more about the general hazards of LPG in the article below:
HAZARDS OF LPG
In this article we look at some of the hazards associated with LPG.
Remember that decanting increases the risk over having only closed cylinders as there is a greater potential for escape of LPG.
Do you decant LPG onsite? We can help you make sure it is stored and handled safely and in compliance with the relevant legislation. Contact us to have your LPG storage reviewed by a dangerous goods consultant accredited by the Department of Mines, Industrial Regulation and Safety. You can also find out more about LPG safety by reading some of our other blog articles.
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.