How safe is your gas supply?January 15th, 2010 by H&R | Categories: restaurants, technology, tourism, training
The Liquefied Petroleum Gas – LPG – explosion in a Pretoria fast food restaurant earlier this week served as a stark reminder of the hazards of working with this volatile but necessary fuel source.
Expert in the LPG field Afrox MD Tjaart Kruger warns: “The FIFA World Cup is almost upon us and we can expect hundreds of thousands of tourists to descend on South Africa looking to have an enjoyable experience – not to get injured because of a lack of proper maintenance, bad installations or through the use of illegally filled cylinders.”
“The main issues putting lives at risk are incompetent gas installers that are often not registered, a lack of maintenance of existing gas installations and the use of illegally filled cylinders.”
The exact cause of the latest incident is still under investigation by the Tshwane Fire Brigade and the South Africa Police Services. The explosion resulted in seven injuries, two of which were serious, as well as extensive damage to the outlet and several neighbouring businesses.
In Gauteng, Afrox has launched an inspection and audit campaign of all its hospitality customers to ensure LPG installations are safe and meet local fire department and municipal safety standards.
“It never ceases to amaze me that many hospitality venues don’t display a fire safety certificate or a flammable liquid license,” says Kruger. “If caterers displayed their certificates this would go a long way in giving their patrons peace of mind about their safety.”
The mainstream LPG industry spends millions of Rands on safety every year but is undermined by rogue traders and illegal filling of cylinders. Afrox works hard to try and put a stop to these illegal and unethical practices that damage the viability of reputable companies and put lives and property at risk.
“The same is happening with unqualified people being used to fit, inspect and repair LPG installations. Always demand proof that an installer is approved and registered or in the case of Handigas cylinders, make sure that the LPG supplier is a legitimate distributor. It’s the only way to ensure the safety of your customers and your business,” he notes.
Handigas cylinders filled by Afrox have a heat-shrunk red seal over the valves to assure consumers that all quality and safety measures have been taken. A similar seal is used by those distributors authorised to fill these cylinders. No seal or clear seals on the cylinders means they have been filled illegally and could endanger people’s lives.
Some guidelines for LPG safety provided by Afrox:
- Check for leaks on your installation or appliances regularly
- Replace worn parts with approved equipment, using a registered LPG installer
- Obtain your flammable liquid license from the local authority
- Ensure you have adequate fire protection devices like fire extinguishers and hose reels available and that they are serviced regularly
- Keep the area around your LPG installation clear and free of any combustible material
- Make sure that all valves are properly closed at the end of business; address any leaks immediately
- Do not allow any naked flames in the vicinity of LPG installations or equipment