Update on LPG Forklift Truck Fire Risks

June 28, 2023
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Following on from the previous alert from the UK Material Handling Association the HSE have now also issued their own safety alert regarding the issue of LPG forklift fire risks.

The HSE outline the primary issue as being a build up of deposits in fuel systems, particularly related to the vaporiser units of LPG powered vehicles causing fires. The HSE reiterate that deposits in the vaporiser units, flow regulators and shut off valves cause trucks to fail to the start, particularly as a result of the cold. As a result when operators attempt to repeatedly start the engine there can be a risk of the unburned LPG being released with the potential for it to be ignited and cause a fire.

The HSE also repeat and expand on, the guidance provided by the UK Material Handling Association. The HSE’s safety alert includes:

Advice to operators:

  • Review safe systems of work for the use of LPG powered lift trucks
  • Provide information, instruction and training for all operators regarding the specific hazards related to the risk
  • Park LPG vehicles in well ventilated areas away from flammable material, especially when parked for longer periods of time.

Actions to be taken by operators when a truck does not start in the normal amount of time:

  • Do not repeat to crank the engine
  • Do not repeat the normal engine starting procedure
  • Do not spray volatile agents into the air intake to help in starting the vehicle
  • Get out of the truck and isolate the gas bottle by using the shut off valve
  • Prevent others from attempting to start the truck
  • Ensure the area is well ventilated
  • Get a competent maintenance engineer to check the LPG system, do not attempt this yourself

Advice to service and maintenance engineers:

  • Do not follow normal starting procedure
  • Isolate the LPG supply by closing the shut off valve
  • Ensure the area is well ventilated
  • Disconnect the battery
  • Release LPG pressure trapped in the fuel supply system
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidance when inspecting the LPG system

The HSE point to their guidance ‘Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use’ and ‘About liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

The full safety bulletin can be found on the HSE website.