LPG is liquefied petroleum gas and are the normal gas cylinders that one would install in residential structures or even commercial spaces. As many businesses would use gas for the preparation of food or other equipment on a daily basis. It is important to ensure that the installation of LPG is done in the correct manner to ensure it is compliant and to avoid any hazard from occurring. This article will discuss the precautions to consider as well as the installation of LPG, specifically in public spaces.
Properties of LPG
It is important to note that gas is stored as a liquid under pressure, therefore when a leak occurs, it will release large amounts of flammable gas. If a large enough volume of gas is released into the air, it can cause the surrounding area to attain a combustible atmosphere when ignited, making it very dangerous. A gas-air mixture that contains approximately 1,5% – 10% of LPG is flammable. However, it is a high concentrate can cause asphyxiation, seizures, comas , heart problems and death. It may cause headaches and dizziness when inhaled.
Ventilation should be provided at the lower level of each building, as LPG is denser than air and is heavy enough to flow along the ground or through smaller openings such as drains. As stated, LPG is categorised as a liquid that can vaporise rapidly resulting in lowering temperatures which can cause cold burns when it comes in contact with the skin. Therefore, it is imperative that the correct personal protective equipment is worn when working with the gas containers. These items include gloves, goggles, aprons, and gumboots. Gumboots must either have leather soles or conductive rubber, as there is a possibility of generating static electricity when working in the area. Clothing shall therefore not be made out of fabrics that contain artificial fibres, to avoid a static shock to occur.
Containers that are empty should also be handled with care as they can still be deemed hazardous. The internal pressure is atmospheric and if the value leaks or is left open, the air can diffuse into the container itself and create a flammable mixture. It is important to note that even a seemingly empty container, might not be empty as mentioned above. The fractions of the liquid within the container might not vaporize in colder weather, which will remain in the container. It is stipulated that all containers that are or appear to be empty must be handled with the same care as a full container, and the valves shall remain completely closed when they are not in use.
Locations of LPG installations
There are 2 main locations to install LPG containers and systems, namely, indoor and outdoor locations. But it is required, regardless of the location, that a registered installer qualified to the appropriate grade (domestic or commercial) shall carry out the work. This includes all associated equipment and appliances and any subsequent repairs or modifications made to the installation.
Requirements for locations:
- Containers and cylinders shall be located in an accessible position.
- Any containers, full or empty, can be changed with ease.
- The containers can be disconnected and removed quickly when an emergency occurs.
- The valves of the container can be easily operated.
Avoid the following locations:
- No container may be placed in such a manner that it causes obstruction, becomes damaged or is exposed to conditions that will affect the safety of those around the installation.
- Any position that is exposed to extreme temperatures should be avoided; this excludes natural elements.
- Containers may not be placed in areas that are exposed to closely locate corrosive or readily combustible substances.
- It may not be located in any position adjacent to cellars, drains, or hollows (where escaping gas might collect).
LPG is classified as a highly flammable substance and should be handled with care. As mentioned, high concentrate can cause death and can become combustible when excessive gas collects in certain areas. Therefore, it is imperative to have the correct information and installation systems, to avoid any incidents to occur.
It’s not always that simple, is it? Simple takes time, simple takes knowledge and experience. Simple takes someone who is able to wade through the complicated and make sense of it all. That someone is us at Cairnmead. Because we know that, no matter how complex the challenge, it’s the simplicity of the outcome that matters.
Cairnmead Industrial Consultants provided operational services specifically to audit and provide the correct information when it comes to these requirements specified above. We offer the following operational services, Full operational inspections, emergency preparedness & evacuation diagrams.
Contact us to find out more:
CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd
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