Safety Tips for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Barbeques
November 27, 2020
Once again, the festive season is almost upon us and with it comes the annual routine of dusting off the barbeque (BBQ), filling up the gas bottle (or buying charcoal) and making your BBQ one of the most loved and well-used (outdoor) kitchen appliances.
Unfortunately, with one of Australia’s most iconic pleasures also comes a degree of risk when operating liquified petroleum gas (LPG) BBQs, making the humble LPG BBQ a safety hazard with the potential to cause serious injury and damage.
From a strata community perspective, LPG BBQs are a concern to bodies corporates, as the risk of explosion and fire is exasperated with to them located in common areas, courtyards and balconies, as well as lockups and (underground) carparks.
Worth mentioning is that Northern Territory Worksafe issued a safety alert in November 2020 following two LPG bottle explosions whilst igniting LPG BBQs. In one of the incidents a person received 30% burns to his body when he started (ignited) the BBQ. An investigation revealed the explosions were attributed to poor built-in LPG bottle compartment design, inadequate ventilation, a leaking LPG bottle, and the operator not checking for LPG leaks beforehand.
With the above in mind, our top 10 LPG BBQ safety tips for the upcoming festive season include:
- Always remember that LPG bottles are compressed gas cylinders containing LPG (Class C: Flammable Gases) stored under significant pressure, and that LPG is heavier than air, sits low to the ground, accumulates in enclosed areas and is highly combustible at flashpoint.
- LPG bottles must be stamped in-date (valid for 10 years) and both the bottle and regulator/valve must be undamaged and serviceable.
- LPG bottles should always be transported in an upright position to prevent rolling and avoid sitting LPG bottles on the passenger seat.
- LPG bottles should be stored outdoors (in a cage where possible) and protected from sunlight and ideally rain, away from other dangerous goods, be kept upright and secure to prevent falling / rolling.
- Locate your LPG BBQ at least 1.5 meters from other flammable materials and have a dry chemical powder (DCP) fire extinguisher (red with white band) located nearby.
- Remain with the BBQ when cooking, turn off the LPG bottle valve while the gas BBQ is still running to burn off residual gas, and keep the valve closed when not in use.
- Clean your BBQ and LPG bottle after every use, paying attention to built-up grease, oil and fat.
- LPG stored and/or used in a workplace must be accompanied by a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), provided by your supplier, be recorded in a register and the SDS made available to workers.
- Dispose of LPG bottles at your council waste and recycling facility.
- Check your by-laws, as there may be specific rules and obligations of occupiers regarding the storage and use of LPG bottles / BBQs.
When you think about it, there are certainly a few things to consider before firing up the barby. With a few safety precautions considered beforehand, you should enjoy many cook-ups this summer.
For further reading about this topic, we recommend:
- QLD Government Gas Cylinder Safety
- WorkSafe QLD Gases in Cylinders
- WorkSafe QLD Controlling Fire and Explosion Risks
- WHSQ How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice 2011
- NT WorkSafe Safety Alert – Gas explosion Risk from Built-In Gas Barbeques
This article was contributed by Sean Albert, General Manager – Strata Compliance Solutions
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