LPG Gas Safety

Extract from WA Energy Safety website

A summary of LPG Cylinder safety. This summary has been provided through the WA Government Energy Safety website.

Quick Summary

  1.   LPGas cylinders  storage and handling cylinders, regulators and pigtails.
    • Cylinders must be in test to enable the cylinders to be refilled,
    • When transporting, cylinder must be restrained and provided ventilation.  
    • Regulators mounted above gas cylinder valves.
    • Pigtails to be maintained With simple checks.
  2.  LP Gas installations in vans.
    • Gas appliances installed in accordance With the manufacturers installation instructions.
    • Only registered and licensed gas fitters can work on gas installations.
    • All ventilation and cautionary notices to be fitted.
    • NO high pressure gas appliances to be installed.
  3. 3. Lunch box cookers
    • Use appropriate sized pans
    • Use outside, they are not meant for indoor use.
    • Use the newer cartridges with gradual expansionand controlled release if overheated.

Some Details

LPGas cylinders  storage, handling, gas regulators and pigtails

 On most vans (meaning caravans, motor homes and camper trailers) we normally see 9kg and 4.5kg gas cylinders, they may be exchange cylinders or customer owned cylinders that are refilled at a registered LP Gas cylinder filling station. Do not have them filled from an Autogas dispenser as Autogas contains a mixture of butane and propane, not good when burnt in gas appliances, produces high levels of CO and soot.

 Always transport cylinders in an upright position and restrained. If transporting in a cabin of a vehicle secure them with a seatbelt at all times and leave a window partially down not rolling round in the boot. ‘Unrestrained cylinders have a habit of hitting oneself in the back of the head’. Don’t leave a gas cylinder un-attended in a vehicle on a hot day as  the relief valve may discharge.

When fitted on a van they are to be fixed in an upright position preferably on the ‘A’ frame or in an enclosure designed for this purpose. If installed in a boot or trunk there must be a vapour separation to any ignition source, house batteries, chargers etc. Any ventilated locker or trunk shall have the appropriate cautionary markings.

 LPGas regulators and pigtails.

The Australian Standard (ASINZS 5601 part 2 calls up duel high pressure and low pressure regulators to be fixed above the level of the cylinder valves. Pigtails can be Type A copper (annealed) or flexible hose assemblies approved to Australian standard AS/NZS 1869 type C or D rated to 2600 kPa or 2.6 mpa.

 The connection is a POL fitting With a left handed thread to match the connection of the cylinder. Older style copper pigtails have a solid brass connector designed to be tightened with a spanner, the flexible hose assembly has a soft seat either a rubber ‘bullnose’ or a rubber ‘O’ ring with a hand wheel to enable it to be tightened without the use Of any tools. In making these connections always turn on the gas cylinder and check this connection for any possible leak With a soapy water solution, just spray it on or Wipe it on. if you see bubbles you need to tighten it further. Always travel with the gas cylinder valves turned off.

 LPGas safety on vans.

When turning a gas cylinder on for the first time ensure all the cocks are off on a cooker, all new cookers now have FED fitted, but it is habit to get into.

 All gas appliances should be Installed with an isolating valve for servicing purposes. Should an appliance be removed for servicing or for any other matter the appliance isolating valve is turned off and preferably plugged off as well.

 With any gas appliance installed inside a van ensure there is adequate fixed high and low level ventilation available. High level is installed in the roof or on the side walls. Low level is usually installed in the entry access door.

LP Gas detectors can be purchased if desired.

All gas appliances are to be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions by an authorised and licensed gas fitter. No high pressure gas appliances are to be installed in vans. Leave them in the tents.

 Lunch BOX Cookers

Lunch box cookers, the single or two burner cookers use butane disposable cartridges as a fuel source. A number of brands were recalled and removed from sale a couple of years ago following a spate of very serious explosions and fires injuring a number of people. The cause of these incidents relate to the misuse of these cookers for using larger pots and pans than what they were designed to be used with. Crab cooking pots, large fry pans and even the placing of a steel plate for use as a barbecue were just some incidents that were investigated.

The larger utensils reflect the heat back onto the enclosed butane cartridge. Not having any relief the cartridge ruptures with butane liquid igniting in a fierce fireball engulfing anyone near-by, They are all marked ‘For Outdoor use only’ yet we have found them in restaurants and in homes.

A particular incident investigated by EnergySafety found the injured had been using a cooker on a beautiful jarrah dining room table with a steam boat on top. Eventually the cartridge ruptured injuring the four persons around the table and burnt a large circular section of the polished table. Unfortunately for the hosts they had been renting a fully furnished home.

There remains still thousands of these cookers in vans and houses in Australia, the recall allowed the purchaser to return them and receive a refund. New designs with added features are now back on the shelves however there are some different butane cartridges available. The green ones sold in packs and also the blue ones. A supple difference is in the design of the blue ones in that they have a slightly weakened top that allows for gradual expansion and a controlled release Of butane if overheated. If used out Of doors With appropriate sized pots and pans there is very little risk. They are a convenience product.