4 minute read
Is it easy to fill and store propane tanks? It's not as simple as you might think!
Who uses propane filling stations?
Gas stations, grocery stores, hardware stores, RV dealerships, U-Haul facilities, and the list goes on.
Cut down on danger for your business with these propane filling station safety tips.
Where to Put Your Propane Filling Station and Tanks
The propane dispensing station and tanks must be located a minimum of 30 feet from buildings, per National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 58 requirements. After you pick a location, enclose the filling station with fencing or a lockable structure.
Use steel posts embedded in concrete to protect the area from vehicle damage. Label the area with required NFPA signs indicating flammability, no smoking, and authorized personnel only.
Lock the filling station when it's not in use.
Place the correct number and type of fire extinguishers near the filling area. Typically, the minimum classification of fire extinguisher will be a 4A40B:C or 4A80B:C, which should be marked on the unit.
Contact the local fire department or fire marshal to make sure the filling station and propane tanks meet local regulations.
How to Store Propane Tanks
You shouldn't store propane tanks inside.
Instead, store them:
- Outside on a firm surface.
- Away from sources of ignition.
- In a labeled and secured non-combustible cage or unit designed for storage of flammable materials.
- With the relief valve in direct communication with the vapor space of the container.
How to Inspect Propane Containers
The Department of Transportation only approves the following container codes for use with propane:
Don't use the container if it doesn't have one of these codes or if the code isn't legible.
Check the container shell and valve to see if the unit has been damaged or compromised. Gas companies perform annual inspections of the main propane tank, valves, pressure gauges, and more. Always maintain the documentation of third-party inspections, and immediately correct any deficiencies noted.
How to Fill Propane Tanks
Only trained employees should fill propane tanks. If you need training for yourself or an employee, reach out to a gas company.
Keep the following safety tips in mind when filling propane tanks:
- Wear approved gloves to prevent burns.
- Purge all new containers and used containers that have been left open.
- Follow proper filling procedures as directed by a qualified trainer.
- Never overfill a container. They're illegal and could release propane or explode.
- Adjust the scale beam slide for proper size and weight of the container.
- Stop filling immediately when the scale beam rises or liquid spews from the fixed liquid level gauge.
- Additional training is required for filling permanently mounted containers on vehicles. Be sure to shut off the engine and other potential ignition sources before filling.
- Always know the location of the emergency shut off valve or disconnect in the event of a leak or emergency.
More Propane Filling Station Safety Tips
Never allow customers to fill their own tanks. Qualified employees should do the filling and allow customers to load their own tanks into their vehicles.
Prior to loading, provide the customer with the right propane safety plan in brochure form or on the rear side of the sales receipt.
Visit the Propane Education & Research Council's residential information site for consumer safety information. Customers should know the dangers associated with handling, storing, and using propane containers.
An employer is responsible for having an emergency action plan in the event of an on-site emergency.
Of course, you should have the right coverage in place if an accident does happen.
Contact your local Pekin Insurance agent to learn more about our business coverage and our Loss Control team, which can help you reduce accidents and avoid costly risks.