Propane Safety for Business/Industrial

Propane is used by millions, not just at home, but also in businesses around the world. Many different commercial settings rely on propane to power heating, cooking, auto, forklift, and machinery operations daily.

Due to its clean, affordable, and accessible qualities, propane is the fuel choice in many regions. Beyond the reach of natural gas mains, propane is frequently used in business operations for its quick, easy transport qualities. In addition, propane is the third most popular vehicle fuel worldwide.

The United States government named propane a clean fuel as part of the 1990 Clean Air Act, and many businesses now choose propane when making the choice to "go green".

Propane is the growing choice of many businesses on the road, on the farm, and at work.

Informing customers about cylinder and container safety is an important responsibility for the propane dispenser operator. Operators should make sure that all customers understand how to transport cylinders safely. Important safety tips for your customers include:

  • Always transport and store a cylinder in a secure and upright position so it will not fall, shift, or roll

  • Never keep a filled cylinder inside a hot vehicle

  • Always proceed directly to your destination and immediately remove the cylinder from your vehicle

Static Discharge Prevention Quick Tips

All employees should be aware of the potential danger of unwanted static electricity at the dispensing location. In the right conditions static discharge or spark may cause the ignition of some fuels, including gasoline and propane. In order to reduce the risk of ignition from static discharge, identify where Static Discharge Control Areas are and where static electricity may be coming from. This is typically any area where propane vapor may be present.

If you are working in or near a Static Discharge Control Area, there are a few simple measures you can take to limit your chances of producing a static spark:

  • Wear static-safe footwear or temporary foot grounders

  • Wear cotton and cotton blends as they will generate less static electricity than most synthetics and polyester materials

  • Never put on or remove garments inside a Static Discharge Control Area

  • Remove all plastics and other synthetic materials from the area

  • Make sure all your equipment is properly grounded

  • Limit access to the area to only those people necessary to conduct normal business activities

Filling Cylinders - Safety Tips

Before filling a cylinder, make sure you are aware of the following information regarding safety and handling procedures:

  • Know your facility's fire prevention and emergency evacuation plans, including where and how to operate emergency shutdown and pump controls. Locate the nearest fire extinguishers and make sure they are in proper working condition. Only use fire extinguishers to create an escape route—not to fight a propane fire. The only safe way to extinguish a propane fire is by stopping the flow of propane.

  • Before operating a filling station, ensure there are no ignition sources within 25 feet of the points of transfer, or metal-working operations including grinding, oxygen-fuel gas cutting, brazing, soldering, or welding within 35 feet.

  • Be sure that valves are protected properly with a valve cap or protective collar, and always use proper cylinder handling techniques. The Overfilling Prevention Device (OPD) should never be used for determining if a cylinder is full. The OPD will not always stop the flow of propane into the cylinder at the proper fill amount.

  • When filling a cylinder, always follow the training materials provided to you by your Propane provider, and please contact your Propane provider if you require replacement training materials.

  • Never fill a cylinder without wearing all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

  • Never allow your employee or anyone else to operate the dispenser without first ensuring that they have been properly trained in safely operating the dispenser and inspecting and filling cylinders.

  • Never allow customers, spectators, or individuals not involved in the dispensing process within 10’ of the point of transfer. This is the point where the cylinder connects to the hose.