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Is your LPGas Cylinder Legally Filled?

News
15 December 2019
Consumer demand for LPGas in South Africa is increasing at a substantial rate and for the first time demand and supply are at equilibrium. Unfortunately, this increased demand has led to an increase in illegal activities by certain parties who see the LPGas industry as an opportunity to make quick money – no matter the risk or consequences to the public.
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A common practice these days is for some to commandeer LPGas cylinders which are the legal property of the brand owner, in most cases one of the major wholesale companies which make the cylinders available to the public on a deposit-based system. These companies/individuals then refill these cylinders and recirculate the illegally refilled cylinders back into the market for their own commercial gain.

It should be noted that the filling of a commercially branded cylinder by anyone other than the cylinder owner is illegal in terms of the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) of 2009, as referenced in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993. All commercial exchange cylinders marked "never sold" and “property of…” are provided on a deposit/exchange basis. For safety reasons these cylinders can only be filled by third parties with prior written permission from the commercial brand owners.

Legally filled LPGas Cylinders are identified by a branded seal on the valve which matches the brand on the cylinder.

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According to the Pressure Equipment Regulations, it is illegal to sell or supply pressure equipment without ensuring that the requisite health and safety requirements have been met. The South African National Standard, SANS 10019, requires that all LPGas cylinders must be handled and filled by competent and authorised persons.

It has come to the attention of the LPGas Safety Association and its members that illegally filled commercially branded LPGas cylinders are being traded by unauthorised dealers. These cylinders are identified by clear/unbranded seals, cloned seals (often with the words LPGas on them) or no seals at all on the cylinder valves, and are being filled and supplied by unauthorised dealers, who do not have written permission to do so from the cylinder owner.

These cylinders are often under-filled and violate the Trade Metrology Act. Alternatively, the cylinders are over-filled and pose a threat to the public and workers. In addition to this, commercially branded cylinders are continuously subjected to rigorous and stringent safety checks by the owners, to ensure their safety and suitability for continued use. This is seldom the case with those that are illegally filled. This makes these cylinders potentially hazardous.

Should a cylinder be both poorly maintained and overfilled, the potential hazard of this combination can be compounded.

LPGas is an exceptional form of energy; however, it must be handled as safely as possible. Unlawful activities, such as the illegal filling and the sale/distribution of illegally filled LPGas cylinders, are detrimental to public safety, consumer rights and the industry as a whole.

Please ensure that your supplier is properly authorised, and the LPGas cylinders you sell/exchange have been legally filled in terms of the requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Pressure Equipment Regulations. Failure to comply could have serious consequences.

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How to Store your LPGas Cylinder Safely

There are specific guidelines that should always be followed when storing LPGas cylinders. These guidelines help to prevent unnecessary accidents that could cause serious damage. The storage area should be carefully selected and monitored. The LPGas cylinder should be stored in a fire-proof and well-ventilated area that is also easily accessible in case of a fire.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. When using LPGas indoors always keep a window open for ventilation.
  2. Always ensure that you have received your LPGas cylinder from a reputable dealer. Do this by checking that the seal on the valve matches the logo on the cylinder. If this is not the case your cylinder may be illegally filled.
  3. In accordance with SANS 10087-1, a maximum of 9kg of LPGas is allowed inside a flat and a no more than 19kg can be kept or installed inside a house.
  4. Gas cylinders should be stored in an upright position.
  5. Each cylinder’s contents should be clearly labelled on the packaging.
  6. Do not smoke or create any naked flame near the area where the cylinder is stored. LPGas cylinders should never be near any combustible or explosive material or things that could spark combustion.
  7. LPGas cylinders should not be stored near any corrosive chemicals that could cause damage to the cylinder (metal). This could cause rusting and ultimately leaking.
  8. Ensure the storage space is not near busy areas such as passageways, exits, elevators, stairs, and emergency exits. This reduces the chances of someone knocking over or bumping the cylinder.
  9. LPGas cylinders need to be accessible in case of an emergency. This means the area should be labelled with appropriate signage.

 

In the case of a fire, all cylinder valves should be closed. The LPGas cylinders should be removed from the vicinity of the fire, those which cannot be removed should be cooled with water from a safe distance. Every effort should be made to keep cylinders cool. Emergency Services should be contacted as soon as possible.

 

For more information and safety tips visit www.lpgas.co.za. If you need advice on your cylinder kindly contact the LPGas compliance department on 011 886 9702.

From LPGas Public Relations and Media Liaison Officer