Propane Health and Safety

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Chris2k121
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Propane Health and Safety

Post by Chris2k121 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:23 pm

Hi guys. I'm looking for advice on the legal requirements for handling propane in the workplace.

I work in a warehouse which uses forklift trucks 27/4. These trucks are powered with propane canisters which need to be fitted by hand.

Last week, while changing one of these canisters, there was a leak around the nozzle of the canister which was not fully sealed, propane started spraying uncontrollably from the nozzle. Now, this may sound stupid to some of you, but I had no clue just how dangerous propane is (I do now due to the injuries I sustained). Myself and the guys I work with have never had any training whatsoever on handling propane, the dangers etc the only training we received was 2 minutes on how to change out the canister. We also do not have any protective equipment apart from some old goggles that just appeared one day.

Anyway, after turning the canister tap both ways and the propane still pouring out, I stuck my hand in under the spraying propane and turned the nozzle (obviously I would not do this now after I've learned first hand what propane can do to you).

So my question is what are the requirements? Surely there must be a law that states I need training on this dangerous substance I'm using. There must also be some kind of PPE requirements?

I've been in contact with my manager and informed him that I won't be changing any bottles until we get the appropriate PPE and training, his response was “We'll look into it” which generally means they'll carry on and pretend it never happened. I want something I can shove in his face and demand he gets it sorted as it seems at the moment nothing will be done about it.

Any advice appreciated.

Thanks

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Macca86
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Macca86 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:47 pm

Hi Chris,

You can cite the Management Regs to your manager as no risk assessment has been completed or no control measure have been put in place. As a minimum any handling of cylinders would require the use of gloves.

As a minimum should have been trained to :
• Handle the cylinder
• Connect the cylinder
• Perform a leak test

I am assuming that you have received cold burns from the propane?

Mac
“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work. It is a matter of life and death. It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die” -Sir Brian Appleton

Chris2k121
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Chris2k121 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:28 pm

Macca86 wrote:Hi Chris,

You can cite the Management Regs to your manager as no risk assessment has been completed or no control measure have been put in place.
I take it these are general regs that can be found online or are they unique to each company? Also, should this be to my manager (warehouse manager) or maintenance/health and safety manager. I'm guessing both?
As a minimum any handling of cylinders would require the use of gloves.
This is what I suspected.

My manager has tried to make a big deal out of whether or not I was wearing gloves (I was at the time of the incident), HOWEVER, the gloves he's referring to are thin, single use throw away gloves we wear around the warehouse. We wear these gloves throughout the night to prevent us from getting scratches and our hands getting cold as we work with metal. This leads me to believe he is utterly clueless about propane.
As a minimum should have been trained to :
• Handle the cylinder
• Connect the cylinder
• Perform a leak test
I guess it depends on what exactly you mean. We weren't trained in anything specifically, undo the nozzle, unstrap the bottle, remove bottle, get new bottle, strap up then attach nozzle and that's about it. There were no specific guidelines on any part of the process. I mean, you can tell how clueless we were, our leak test was putting our ear close to the nozzle to see if we could hear a leak. I feel like a right idiot now.
I am assuming that you have received cold burns from the propane?
Yes, mate. And its pretty damn painful.

Thanks, Mac.

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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by phildot » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:56 pm

Hi Chris
Sorry to hear about your accident.

In short when a company supplies an item ( in this case Propane) they will send with the product a safety data card. This will give information on pretty much everything on the product from potential risks and the best practice of controlling them, storage and first aid treatment if workers come in to contact with the product. As an example there is a company in the uk that supplies products including propane, you can find safety data cards online from this company
http://www.boconlineshop.com/shop/en/uk ... e-cylinder" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; then download the safety data sheet.
As you will notice it gives clear standards of PPE for workers to wear when handling and changing canisters. Its also a product that falls under COSHH( not sure if also DSEAR? one of the more experienced guys will know) My personal opinion is I'd be asking to see the safety data card at your place of work, then ask management why we are not doing xyz and then see how they respond.

Phil

Chris2k121
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Chris2k121 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:11 pm

phildot wrote:In short when a company supplies an item ( in this case Propane) they will send with the product a safety data card.

This will give information on pretty much everything on the product from potential risks and the best practice of controlling them, storage and first aid treatment if workers come in to contact with the product. As an example there is a company in the uk that supplies products including propane, you can find safety data cards online from this company
http://www.boconlineshop.com/shop/en/uk ... e-cylinder" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; then download the safety data sheet.
As you will notice it gives clear standards of PPE for workers to wear when handling and changing canisters. Its also a product that falls under COSHH( not sure if also DSEAR? one of the more experienced guys will know) My personal opinion is I'd be asking to see the safety data card at your place of work, then ask management why we are not doing xyz and then see how they respond.
In my time off I've been doing a bit of research and I've read about these cards before. We don't have one of these anywhere.

I'm wondering, is it a legal requirement that propane be acquired through a legitimate company? I ask because as far as I'm aware we receive our bottles of propane from some guy known as "Fat Chris" who I believe is a friend of the maintenance manager. He turns up with a van full of propane bottles whenever we run low.

I'm beginning to think the company I work for is a complete joke.

Thanks for the reply, Phil.


phildot
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by phildot » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:53 pm

If this guy who delivers propane to the business is legit, he would be classed as a supplier of dangerous goods I believe. I have limited knowledge on this but I do know that if you are a supplier of dangerous goods you must carry information on the product whilst transporting it and pass on the safety data sheet or any other info that would of been given to the supplier from the manufacturer of the product( http://www.gov.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; will have info on suppliers of dangerous goods).

I would ask the management for a look at the safety data sheet( if they don't have one ask why) also I would request training in COSHH maybe by email to management so you have a written record of the request and also next time he delivers maybe see what paper work comes with the goods. sorry I can't be more help but there is a heap of experienced folk on here who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Phil

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Macca86
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Macca86 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:05 pm

Hi Chris,

The specific legislation is The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These require all employers to carry out risk assessments, record them (where they employ 5 or more people) provide information and instruction amongst other things.

Propane although hazardous because of its flammability and it being an asphyxiant, it is not classed as hazardous to health under COSHH, so it woukd not require a COSHH Assessment. However, as Phil correctly points out is would require a DSEAR assessment.

I would suggest you visit the HSE website for a wealth of information to help your case: http://www.hse.gov.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

best of luck

Mac
“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work. It is a matter of life and death. It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die” -Sir Brian Appleton

Chris2k121
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Chris2k121 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:09 pm

Okay. Thanks for the info, guys. I'll see where this goes. [smilie=dweeba20.gif]

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Messy
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by Messy » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:46 pm

Chris2k121 wrote:
...... we receive our bottles of propane from some guy known as "Fat Chris" who I believe is a friend of the maintenance manager. He turns up with a van full of propane bottles whenever we run low.

.
.scratch Is this a covered van? If so is it ventilated at low level and does is display an orange rectangular placard front and rear?

Just trying to help determine if this 'Fat Chris' is a legit gas supplier (I can't find him in Yellow Pages :roll: )

NorthernGeezer
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Re: Propane Health and Safety

Post by NorthernGeezer » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:17 am

Have you filled in an accident report for this?
Be interesting to see if your H&S Manager actually undertakes an investigation and what future actions he recommends.

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