LPG forklift truck fire risk – HSE Safety Notice Issued on LPG forklift truck fires

Outsource Safety LtdSafety newsLPG forklift truck fire risk – HSE Safety Notice Issued on LPG forklift truck fires
July 26, 2023 Posted by Roger Hart

Many of our customers will have forklifts trucks operating at their premises and a good number of these will be of the LPG type.  You may well not be aware of the potential for LPG forklift truck fires.  Apart from one obvious danger, the emission of carbon monoxide (an LPG engine will typically give rise to one-quarter as much CO as a petrol equivalent) these forklifts are a sound choice.  However, recently HSE has noticed a number of accidents which have led to LPG forklift truck fires. If you operate forklift trucks fueled by LPG you should read on to find out more and to decide if you are affected by the hazards highlighted below.LPG forklift truck fires

If you have questions surrounding the potential for LPG forklift truck fires then please contact us if you are part of our Safety~net competent person scheme or if you wish to become part of it call us or we will call you back.


Health and Safety Executive – Safety notice: LPG forklift truck fires

Department name: Engagement and Policy Division (EPD)

Bulletin number: EPD02-2023

Issue date: 05/23

Target audience: Anyone responsible operating, supplying, inspecting or maintaining LPG powered forklift trucks.

Issue

HSE is aware of a number of fires on, and around, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered forklift trucks and other similar vehicles that have occurred during starting.

Outline of the problem

Build-up of deposits in fuel systems, in particular, the vaporiser units of LPG powered vehicles has led to a number of fires.

Trucks not starting due to sticking valves

Deposits in vaporiser units, flow regulators and shut off valves cause the truck to fail to start, particularly from cold. Build-up of deposits can lead to sticking valves and the mixture supplied to the engine being too rich to be ignited.

Repeated starting attempts can release unburned LPG

Repeated starting attempts can result in the release of unburned LPG, which in extreme cases can be ignited, setting fire to the vehicle and surrounding materials and causing LPG forklift truck fires.

Action required

Operators

  • review your safe system of work in relation to the use of all LPG powered lift trucks and similar vehicles
  • provide information, instruction and training for all operators about the hazards raised in this alert
  • park LPG vehicles in well ventilated areas free from flammable material, particularly when parking overnight or for longer periods

If a truck does not start within the normal few seconds

  • do NOT continue to turn (crank) the engine over using the starter
  • do NOT repeat the normal engine starting procedure
  • do NOT spray volatile agents into the air intake in an attempt to aid starting
  • get off the truck and close the shut off valve to isolate the gas bottle
  • secure the truck to prevent further starting attempts
  • ensure the area is well ventilated
  • do NOT attempt to solve or repair the problem yourself, arrange for a competent maintenance engineer to do a check of the LPG system

Service and maintenance engineers

If you are presented with an LPG powered truck with a starting problem:

  • do NOT follow the normal starting procedure
  • isolate the LPG supply by closing the shut off valve
  • ensure that the area is well ventilated
  • disconnect the battery
  • release LPG pressure trapped in the fuel supply system
  • follow the manufacturer’s guidance for inspection of the LPG system

LPG is cold, take appropriate precautions when working with it. Once released LP gas is heavier than air and can pool in low-lying areas, where it can be ignited by any source of ignition, including static electricity, electrical sparks and hot surfaces leading to LPG forklift truck fires.

Guidance

Relevant legal documents