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The distance rules and requirements of propane tanks to their surroundings continues to be an important topic for both legal and safety reasons.
Nearby buildings, additional tanks, other flammable objects, awnings, etc. need to be taken into account whenever propane tanks are present.
The proper storage, handling and transfer of propane and other Liquefied Petroleum (LP) gases is important to remain within the safety and compliance regulations set by OSHA and CGA (Compressed Gas Association).
Too often we find through our facility assessments that propane tanks are stacked indoors, stored with no safety cages or protection, and are often oriented improperly.
All propane cylinders should be properly housed away from high traffic areas and stored in cylinder safety cages or cabinets to protect them from being hit or dropped. This will also help to extend the life of the cylinder.
Cylinders cannot be stored near exits, stairways, or other entryways, per OSHA regulations.
The best practice is to have them stored at least 20 feet away from the building in an open air caged environment with a protective roof overhead (rain and sun).
Propane Use and Storage Quick Guide:
– Always store any not-in-use cylinders outside and in an open air storage container (propane is heavier than air and will settle to the ground)
– Do not store propane cylinders (full or empty) in your garage
– Always use and store cylinders in the proper orientation (vertical for gas grill cylinders)
– Forklift Cylinders can be used/stored either vertically or horizontally but when horizontal, the relief device must be located at the 12 o’clock position
– Always wear appropriate gloves and other PPE when connecting and disconnecting propane cylinders from their hoses – Propane can cause freezer burn instantaneously
– Refer to your forklift or other LP powered device training documentation for the proper refueling/changing cylinder procedure
– When a cylinder is not in use, remember to close the valve to lessen the likelihood of a leak
– Look at the dates on the cylinder collar and if the cylinder is past its requalification date, return it to an exchange or work with your supplier to change the cylinder
Risk Managers and Safety Directors: If you would like to schedule an introductory call with an Oswald professional fill out the form below or learn more about Oswald Risk Consulting: Safety & Loss Control services.
*This post was originally published in August 2014; last updated September 2017
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