LPG has become one of the most popular sources of energy at home and in many industries. It is generally considered as one of the safest gases used for cooking and hot water heating. When using LPG, it is essential to understand its hazards and the precautionary measures that you should apply.
What are the hazards of LPG?
LPG is considered a safe energy source but it can also be dangerous if not handled or used properly.
LPG is Flammable
The first thing that we should remember is LPG will always be flammable. It is a mixture of hydrocarbon gases such as propane, propylene and butane which makes LPG highly combustible. The mixture is also one reason why it catches fire so easily.
Liquefied Gas is Under Pressure
The process of liquefying the gas requires the storage of gas in a bottle that can withstand high pressure. The pressure applied to the gas and the butane mix creates a vaporisation effect on the gas which converts the mixture to liquefied form.
The gas bottle assumes about 20 times atmospheric pressure making it truly dangerous when mishandled. To ensure the safety of users, the gas bottle is designed with a built-in shut-off valve to seal itself in case of unwarranted leaks.
LPG can cause several bodily harm during exposure to inhalation. One of the most threatening effects of inhaling too much LPG is a case of asphyxiant. This is the inability of a person to breathe freely after suffocating from an LPG leak.
When inhalation is uncontrollable, it can render the person unconscious for long hours. In some cases, it may reduce the oxygen level in the body resulting in a more dangerous situation.
Exposure to LPG leaks can also cause cold burns and 1st to 3rd-degree burns. Aside from fire, it may also cause carbon monoxide suffocation.
Only buy from an unauthorised gas supplier
One of the many reasons that cause LPG hazards is buying from unauthorised sellers. Some buyers also forget to check the seal of the gas bottle and the DFT on the cylinder plate.
Hazardous storing conditions for LPG may include the location and elevation of the storage area. This also includes the position of the gas bottle whether in use, full or empty.
What precautions are proper for these LPG hazards?
Although there are hazards connected with the usage and handling of LPG, there are also ways to make sure that accidents are prevented from happening.
Give Importance to Warning Signs
Generally, appliances and devices come with warning labels. If not on their surfaces, these warning signs can be found in datasheets or instruction manuals. Similarly, gas bottles come with warning labels.
Warning signs include reminding the users that LPG is flammable, contains gas under pressure and may cause drowsiness. It is best to ensure that you heed these warning signs to prevent any untoward accidents.
First Aid Measures
In case of intoxication from gas leaks, make sure to leave the affected area and stay in a clear open space. If you have an unconscious companion, do not leave him or her unattended. It may be best to call for medical help such as an ambulance or take the person to the hospital for emergency care.
In case of cold burns, get to the nearest water source and run tap water to the affected skin for about 10 to 15 minutes. Apply a cool compress until the pain eases. When the burnt cools down apply a moisturiser, preferably aloe vera-based to prevent the affected skin from drying. Then cover the burnt skin with clean gauze. If needed, ask the patient to drink a pain reliever.
When someone’s eyes come in contact with LPG, flush it with cool water. If he or she is wearing contact lenses, advise the person to remove them. If irritation persists, it may be best to rush the person to an eye specialist.
When buying a gas bottle, make sure to buy from your trusted gas supplier. Upon delivery of the bottle check if the seal is broken and if it is, do not accept the bottle and politely ask the delivery guy for a replacement. You should also check the DFT indication on the bottle. If the bottle is nearing its due date for testing, it may be best to ask for a gas bottle that has a later DFT.
Let’s say that the DFT is A-23, it means that the bottle is due for testing in March 2023. If you are purchasing the bottle in February and you typically use the gas bottle for 6 to 12 weeks, it may be wiser to get a gas bottle with a later DFT, like B-23, C-23 or D-23.
If you are getting a gas bottle that has D-22 DFT, it only means that the bottle is due for testing last December 2022, which is past its due date. Similarly, it is better to ask for another gas bottle.
Storing LPG should be easy. It only needs a sturdy location and preferably on ground level. The storage should also be outside and away from your stovetop or other appliances that can cause combustion.
Make sure that your gas bottles are stored in an upright position all the time. Whether it is a newly bought full bottle or a used empty cylinder, always keep it standing up. Lastly, avoid storing it in electrical storage or rooms with highly combustible materials.
To ensure that your household or business is kept safe from the use and handling of LPG, make sure your place is well-ventilated at all times. Always remind children not to play with gas bottles. And always hang a warning sign in your gas storage area that is a highly dangerous and flammable place.
Contact PlusGas to learn more about LPG hazards and precautions!