Injury Prevention: Common Causes of Propane Explosions

A natural byproduct of natural gas processing and oil refining is a synthetic material referred to as propane. It is used in a variety of ways and is combustible. Some ways in which propane is used are as follows: Barbecue grills , Torches , Central heating, Engine fuel, Food trucks, RVs, and more. But the same thing that makes propane so useful – it’s combustibility – can also present the possibility of propane explosions. Let’s take a closer look at propane and how to handle propane tanks safely.

Can You Smell That Smell?

So that you’ll know a propane leak exists, a rotten egg smell has been added through the use of a chemical. This is per OSHA safety regulations because ordinarily, propane is odorless. You’d never know it was leaking if not for that added chemical. If it’s been weeks since the filling of a propane tank, or if the chemical was not added properly, you might not detect a propane leak because the odor is either less detectable or not detectable at all.

To trigger propane explosions, all it takes is an open flame or a single spark when the area in which a propane tank is used is poorly ventilated. Even if the tank is outdoors, the result could be a dangerous, devastating fire.

Propane Tanks Have an Escape Valve

The escape valve referred to here is also called a bleeder valve. This valve, in the event of excess internal pressure, allows propane to escape the tank. This, in turn, prevents the tank from exploding. Even in a well-ventilated area, an open flame or a lit cigarette, if a bleeder valve is left open, can cause a small fire.

In an industrial setting, propane tanks are sometimes stored together or nearby. In this case, other valves may open because of the heat caused by this small fire. The fire would thereby expand and, creating potentially devastating consequences, trigger a chain reaction.

Tips for Propane Safety

When storing, using, or handling propane tanks, observe the following safety tips to prevent propane explosions:

  • Always read and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When storing propane tanks, keep them away from open flames and heat.
  • Out of sunlight, in a cool place, whenever possible, use an outdoor location to store propane tanks.
  • If one propane tank is in use, never store another propane tank near it.
  • Though propane tanks can be transported in the trunk of a car (if absolutely necessary), the time during which they are in the trunk should be minimized as much as possible. Additionally, they should be secured and never allowed to roll around.
  • Preferably outdoors, always make sure that the area in which you are using propane is well ventilated.

Mickey Genuine Parts

Whether you’re transporting propane tanks or some other commodity, Mickey Genuine Parts has trailers (both new and used), box vans, and trucks available for purchase. We also handle smaller equipment like handcarts, storage/transportation shelves, cargo straps, our Mickey Route Buddy and Route Buddy Rack, and more.

As evidenced above, if propane is not secured and properly transported, it becomes a far more dangerous product. Don’t invite disaster by moving tanks that are unsecured. Count on Mickey Genuine Parts for cargo/ratchet straps, handcarts, and more. Contact one of our knowledgeable representatives today to find out more or to inquire about a specific part or piece of equipment needed for proper propane transport.

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