Propane gas has become essential to many homes and workplaces. It is used for heaters, torching, cutting, even to fuel our lighters. Propane, however can be extremely dangerous.
Reasons why propane can be dangerous:
1. Propane is heavier than air. This means that a leak would result in oxygen displacement in low-lying areas. Oxygen displacement means a danger of asphyxiation.
2. Propane is highly explosive. Even the tiniest of sparks will ignite it (This is the principle your propane lighter works on).
3. Propane is most commonly stored in compressed cylinders. Even non-explosive gases are dangerous when compressed.
4. Compressed propane results in the propane being extremely cold. Any contact with liquid propane can result in serious frostbite.
Handling, Storing and Using Propane Safely
1. Transport, store and use propane cylinders in the upright position. NEVER roll them on the ground.
2. Always make sure that the relief valve is working properly and not being blocked.
3. Secure propane cylinders using chains, wire or rope to keep them upright.
4. Never transport propane inside a vehicle. A gas leak could result in explosion or asphyxiation.
5. Store propane cylinders outdoors in an enclosure to protect them from being struck by any falling materials or moving vehicles.
6. Clearly mark and store empty and full cylinders separately from each other.
7. Only propane cylinders that are currently being used should be indoors and only when there is no other option.
8. If propane is being used for a heater, the propane should be between 15 and 50 feet away from the heat source, no more and no less.
9. Remove and air outside any clothing that comes into contact with propane. Propane gas can linger in and on clothing and pose a danger of igniting long after the exposure occured.
10. Avoid all contact with skin due to the danger of frostbite.
11. NEVER enter an area where a propane leak is suspected, even to assist someone who has been overcome (You’ll just be overcome yourself. There are many tragic stories of one person after another being overcome and dying in an attempt to help a co-worker, friend or family member).
Propane is odorless. Suppliers, however, add a strong-smelling chemical to the gas that makes it smell like rotting trash to help detect leaks.