If you spend any time at all in an industrial facility, you are well-acquainted with the standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known more commonly as OSHA. Since its founding in 1971, OSHA has established workplace safety standards and reduced the number of workers injured or killed on the job by more than 65%. OSHA’s guidelines cover all aspects of the workplace, from signage to equipment to the handling of hazardous materials, and these guidelines include standards regarding the storage and usage of propane.
Classification of Propane
OSHA classifies propane as a “hazardous material” due to its flammable properties. However, because the propane industry adheres to strict safety standards, this flammability does not pose a serious threat when propane is handled properly.
Guidelines for Storing and Using Propane
- Store all cylinders that are not in use in an open-air storage unit or cage with a protective roof overhead, at least 20 feet from other buildings
- Use and store cylinders in the proper position
- Industrial facilities can store up to 300 lbs. of propane in cylinders
- Cylinders used for forklifts can be stored in either the vertical or horizontal position, but if stored horizontally the relief valve must be positioned at 12 o’clock; these cylinders do not require an overfill prevention device (OPD)
- Do not store cylinders near doorways, stairways, or exits
- Locate storage away from high-traffic areas
- Do not store propane cylinders close to or with other flammable or combustible materials
- Locate fire extinguishers within easy access of propane storage
- Storage areas should have flat surfaces that do not collect water
- Store cylinders with the relief valve in direct contact with the vapor space in the container
- Wear gloves and other protective equipment when connecting and disconnecting hoses from propane cylinders
- When a cylinder is not in use, close the valve to lessen the chance for a leak
- Monitor the dates located on the cylinder collar to replace or exchange cylinders that are out of date
Propane suppliers follow OSHA guidelines in order to protect you, your home, and/or your business from damages caused by improper handling of their product. Adhering to these same standards in your home or place of business will help to assure that propane remains a reliable and safe fuel source for all applications.
Lin-Gas provides a number of safety guides and SDS documentation on our website. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about using propane safely and can provide you with written information in both English and Spanish. Remember, propane is a pressurized gas that can fill 1,000 its compressed volume, and that one propane cylinder can deliver enough explosive force to lift a home off its foundation. OSHA has established rules and guidelines for the safe handling of propane and other materials in order to protect homes, businesses, property and lives.