Following a series of startling incidents over the past few years SafeWork NSW has released an educational video graphically outlining the dangers of operating LPG cylinders in enclosed spaces.
It is both dangerous and illegal to use LPG gas appliances that are designed for outdoor use or cylinders in enclosed spaces, this includes in retail kitchens.
Most retail kitchens include gas appliances that are supplied from LPG cylinders that are outside of the building and feed gas to the appliances via tubes. In the event that the outside LPG cylinders are empty it is tempting to consider bringing a small portable LPG cylinder inside and hooking that up ‘to keep the business operating’, but it is a very dangerous act and illegal. Making this decision has caused many business to close entirely when it goes very wrong.
In issuing the Alert SafeWork NSW has highlighted that it has “responded to several serious incidents at the workplace involving gas, which ignited and led to serious burn injuries”.
“The storage and use of portable gas cylinders which are located inside commercial kitchens can result in fire and explosion due to the unintended escape of LPG from gas cylinder valves, cylinder connections, regulators and flexible hoses”.
“Appliances designed for ‘outdoor use only’ must only be used outdoors in well ventilated areas. Indoor areas or confined spaces do not have sufficient ventilation to allow gas to burn properly. This leads to a build-up of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, which can lead to asphyxia and death”.
Learnings for all businesses
It is a risk to the staff, to the business as well as illegal and very dangerous to use portable LPG cylinders inside, or to bring gas appliances designed for outdoor use inside.
All works on a gap appliance (including the modification or addition to a gas kitchen set up) must be undertaken only by a qualified and licenced gas fitter.
Portable LPG cylinders must not be used of stored inside commercial kitchens
Typical fixed gas installation – any work must be undertaken by a licenced gas fitter.
For more information see;
- SafeWork NSW – https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/safety-alerts/safety-alerts/safety-alert-lpg-cylinders-should-not-be-stored-or-used-inside-commercial-kitchens#:~:text=This%20safety%20alert%20advises%20NSW,asphyxia%2C%20especially%20in%20commercial%20kitchens.
- NSW Fair Trading Gas and Electrical unit on 13 32 20 or the Fair Trading NSW gas safety page.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM &IR)
Executive Manager Employment and Training