In the transportation industry, propane trucks offer a special set of circumstances unique unto themselves. Both the trucks that transport propane, and the propane itself, must be handled very carefully. The proper maintenance of propane trucks is essential if safety is to be upheld.
And upheld it must be – at any cost. Here are some tips on proper fuel handling and propane truck upkeep.
Fuel (Propane) Must Always Be Handled Safely
When handled properly, propane is a versatile and safe fuel. But it never hurts to remind workers to, before refilling a propane tank, look for damage during a visual inspection of mounting brackets and cylinders. Additionally, on a regular basis, make sure that the mounting pin is engaged, and the tank is properly mounted. Professional repairs should be executed immediately if a problem is detected.
Never, when it comes to cylinder parts, regulators, valves, etc., attempt self-modification. Whenever an uncertainty exists, assistance should be provided by a qualified service technician or propane provider. When in doubt, individuals who work with propane can check with PERC (The Propane Education and Research Council). This is an established program funded and operated by the propane industry.
Repair Facilities – Special Requirements and Preparation
Any repair facility holds safety near or at the top of their list. This is especially important in repair facilities that work on propane tanks and trucks. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Code 58 is a bible of sorts when it comes to garaging, required procedures, and fuel storage where propane powered/transport equipment is concerned. This code should be reviewed by fleet managers as necessary.
Somewhat comparable to gasoline, propane has particular requirements regarding facilities and fuel codes. Whether or not a facility needs electrical alterations to adhere to requirements, gas detection equipment, or ventilation modifications can be determined by reviewing codes and PERC. Depending on the alternative fuel, necessary equipment, procedures, and requirements vary.
As an example: supply tanks should be shut off when possible and work should be done in the facility’s lowest point when repairing and servicing propane powered machinery.
Preventative Maintenance Is Essential!
Before worn components fail, they can be replaced in order to preserve equipment reliability through a properly designed preventative maintenance program. Depending on manufacturer requirements and guidelines, some propane associated equipment has very specific maintenance schedules involving lube service, filters, etc.
Because those recommendations and guidelines vary, fleet managers should check with the manufacturers of their equipment. In fact, PERC recommends that equipment manufacturers and truck fleet managers consult on a regular basis.
They also remind fleet managers that it’s more expensive for a service call than it is to execute preventative maintenance. During off hours, or non-peak hours, regular maintenance can be scheduled conveniently. This way, minor problems are detected and taken care of before they can become expensive, extensive repairs or replacements, and result in costly downtime.
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