1. DO Understand the regs and your responsibilities
Get to know the regulations that you need to comply with and make sure you know what your responsibilities are. When you’ve got a bit of time, sit down and have a look at the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), the GSIUR (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998) and Code of Practice 24, sections 2 and 3.
2. DO only use equipment that’s suitable for commercial catering
Never use camping equipment. There are lots of reasons why you should never use camping equipment in a commercial catering business. In fact, you’ll find a few of them right here…
3. DO – Make sure all your LPG equipment is CE marked
To be legally compliant, all LPG commercial catering equipment must be CE-marked (Gas Appliance (Safety Regulations) 1995). This is to ensure maximum safety and minimise risks to everyone near your unit.
4. DO Make sure it features flame failure devices too
According to HSE’s Safe use of LPG at small commercial and industrial bulk installations you also need to have flame failure devices on all LPG equipment. That means that the gas supply will automatically cut out should the flame go out.
5. DO Keep on top of your risk assessments
Make sure that your fire safety and health and safety risk assessments are up to date and that you are following them to the letter every time you trade.
6. DON’T just view Gas & Electrical Safety as obtaining a certificate.
These issues really are a matter of life and death.
7. DON’T take chances with your cylinders
Keeping your LPG cylinders in close proximity to naked flames is an obvious fire risk so make sure that you store them in a sensible place, on even ground. Don’t allow any public access to your cylinders either.
- Cylinders kept within close proximity to naked flames
- No flame supervision devices on appliances
- Unsecured hoses
- Cylinders within public access
- No control valves on appliances
Putting the dangers into perspective
- LPG is corrosive and therefore erodes certain materials over time, like rubber hosing.
- It’s also a “seeking” gas as it’s always looking for the easiest way out of its container.
- LPG will take advantage of any weaknesses in the system, which are ‘likely’ to occur over time.
- A Gas Safe engineer is trained to identify these weaknesses at an early stage.
- Propane vapour is heavier than air. The invisible vapour will ‘pool’ in low-lying areas if a leak occurs. This is one of the main reasons why it’s imperative that propane cylinders be used and stored outdoors only.
- For propane to burn effectively. the oxygen-to-gas mixture must be within a certain range. For ideal conditions, there should be 4 parts propane to 96 parts oxygen. When the gas burns outside of these parameters the result is incomplete combustion, producing excessive amounts of potentially deadly carbon monoxide.
- Several gas explosions have occurred in the last few years on both gazebo and trailer set-ups, resulting in personal injury, smoke inhalation and damage to property.
*Including the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), the GSIUR (Gas Safety Installation an Use Regulations 1998), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and COP 24, sections 3 & 4
8. DON’T USE worm drive hose clips (jubilee clips)
You should avoid using worm drive hose clips to secure your hoses because they can bite into the hose and cause damage, and there’s no way of knowing if you’ve over-tightened them. Likewise, you can’t tell if the device has come loose so wouldn’t know if they’re providing an effective seal.
Why we don’t like them…
- The worm drive itself can bite into the hose and cause damage
- Serrated or pierced inner rings bite into the hose and can cause damage too
- The ‘tightness’ is subjective so could potentially be unsafe
They’re no good for low pressure installations…
- There’s no way of knowing if the device is over-tightened and causing damage to the hose
- You can’t tell if the device had come loose so wouldn’t know if it’s not giving an effective seal (unless a gas leak test is carried out every time it’s used)
- They can be easily loosened for malicious purposes
- When re-used they don’t always form a consistent amount of pressure on the hose
If you are still going to use worm dive hose clips, opt for those with a smooth inner ring rather than the serrated or pierced type. Only ever tighten them enough to prevent gas escaping – going too tight is likely to crush or damage the hose or the connector.
Best practice for connections
You should use suitable factory-fitted swaged or crimped connectors to secure each end of low pressure hoses – just like those shown in this picture.
9. DO Secure your hoses the right way
Instead of worm drive hose clips you should be using suitable factory-fitted swaged or crimped connectors to secure each end of low pressure hoses. These are a feature of the QuickSafe LPG System.
10. DO Get your gas equipment checked
The law requires that you have your LPG appliances checked and maintained by a qualified Gas Safe engineer at least once a year. Remember to make sure that the engineer you use is qualified to work with the specific type of equipment that you use before employing them. You can see a full list of each engineer’s qualifications on the Gas Safe register.
11. DO Take training seriously
At all times you ought to have person on shift who is “suitably trained” to work with LPG. They can take responsibility for dealing with LPG and appliances. (Did you know that you get half priced places on the NCASS LPG Safety training course included in your membership?)