21st September 2023
LPG Forklift Fire Risks
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued an urgent safety notice regarding fire risks associated with LPG forklift trucks. In this blog, we look at what these highlighted risks are, and what you may need to act on.
There have been several fires involving LPG powered forklift trucks and other similar equipment that have all occurred during their starting up procedure.
The build-up of deposits in fuel systems, flow regulators and vaporiser units along with sticking valves appear to be the common causes as to why the forklifts fail to start.
The issues arises when repeated attempts to start the forklift in the normal manner release unburned LPG, which can then be ignited, setting fire to both the vehicle and surrounding materials. LPG is heavier than air meaning it can pool in low lying areas where it can also then be ignited by any source of ignition including hot surfaces, electrical sparks and static.
If you operate LPG powered forklift trucks (or similar vehicles) at any of your sites, it’s important to review your risk assessments and safe systems of work in relation to their use.
Forklift operators should be informed of the fire risks which arise when a vehicle fails to start. Always ensure that LPG forklifts are parked in well-ventilated areas, and the following control measures are recommended as good practice for all sites should an LPG vehicle fail to start:-
- Do not repeat the usual engine starting procedure.
- Do not continue to turn the engine over using the starter.
- Ensure operatives dismount the forklift and close the LPG shut-off valve to isolate the gas bottle.
- Remove the key and secure the truck to prevent anyone else from attempting to start it.
- Do not spray any flammable substances into the airtake in an attempt to aid in starting the engine.
- Arrange for a competent forklift maintenance engineer to investigate and repair as necessary.
If you have any queries regarding forklift trucks/risk assessments or any other health and safety matter, then do not hesitate to call our advice line today on 0300 303 5228.
Appoint Lighthouse As Your Health & Safety Competent Person
The competent person role does not have to be fulfilled internally within every company. You can, therefore, outsource the appointment to a contractor or consultancy with the necessary qualifications and experience.