Do you run a food truck powered by propane and you are concerned for your safety? If YES, here are 6 propane tank safety tips for food trucks. Propane is not a toy to be played with, and you are expected to take serious and consistent security measures to ensure everything is Okay at all times. Here are some food truck propane safety procedures to ensure your business and customers are secured and protected!
6 Important Propane Tank Safety Tips For Food Trucks
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With a propane tank, the most vital consideration has to be the weight. A full tank will weigh twice the contents weight shown on it, so has to be lifted carefully or a cart used. These propane tanks should always be transported and stored with the valve at the top.
Propane tanks are quite easy to use if you follow the supplier’s instructions. When not in use, they should be stored outside in an accessible place. Always remember that the contents are flammable so never subject tanks to heat. Once they have been used, return empty tanks to the nearest supplier.
2. Training Your Staff on Propane
Aside from being familiar with the safety procedures of handling propane, it is imperative to make sure your staff is properly trained as well. Always strive to make sure you and your employees are on the same page, and always consider these factors listed below:
- All staff members should be familiar with the layout of the truck and where the gas lines are located.
- Ensure you are regularly checking the connections and changing them when necessary. Staff should be taught how to perform leak tests on gas connections.
- Ensure your staff are familiar with the smell of propane so they can inform the fire department if a leak were to occur.
- You and your staff should be familiar with your propane tank and markings. Inform staff to never use a non-certified tank.
- Staff should be shown the proper method of shutting off fuel sources.
Do not forget that regulators are crucial to reduce the variable propane tank pressure to the constant low pressure needed by your kitchen appliances. They come in two variations: screwed connectors and quick connect. These are specific to the type of tank they can be attached to and should be clearly marked.
Note that most screwed connections are left-handed and tend to tighten in the opposite direction to a normal screw. It is always advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when making connections and use the correct sized wrench.
Remember not to over tighten and do not force a regulator if it does not fit easily. It is important to make sure that the outlet pressure of the regulator is the same as the inlet pressure of the appliance.
In addition, never tamper with regulators as they are preset by their manufacturer to control the gas supply at the correct pressure. Finally, regulators should always be protected from the rain. If your regulators are more than 10 years old or show signs of wear or damage, definitely replace them.
4. Tank Inspection
Right before your truck hits the streets, always ensure your propane tanks are up to code. You are expected to check the “requalification” date, also known as the “retest” date before you can get your tank refilled.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, propane tanks are expected to be re-qualified or replaced every 5 or 10 years depending on the tank type, condition, and previous requalification method. Also note they your tank must be re-qualified before it can be refilled or replaced altogether.
5. Fire Hazards
While using Propane in your food truck, always ensure you understand everything concerning potential fire hazards. According to reports, there was an average of 540 vehicle fires per year where propane was involved from 2007-2011. So to prevent a propane related fire from occurring, avoid the following hazards:
- Overfilled propane tanks
- Unsecured propane tanks
- Propane tanks stored inside the food truck
- Aged/worn propane lines
- Unsecure connections
- Hot fryer oil/grills too close to tanks
- Burner knobs left in the on position
- Flammable liquids too close to the cooking area and gas burner
- Propane tanks stored next to flammable items
Also ensure your hoses are clearly marked for commercial use. In addition, if the outlet pressure of the regulator exceeds 50 mbar, make sure it is explicitly marked as ‘High Pressure LPG’. Also note that hose lengths should be as short as possible but long enough so that they are not pulled tight. Also secure with proper hose clips, this will prevent them from damage while the truck is moving.
Always strive to keep hoses in your food truck clear of hot surfaces. Ensure that you replace any hose that is more than 10 years old or that shows signs of wear, cracking or damage. When it comes to cooking appliances, you should never connect a natural gas appliance to an LP Gas supply, or modify your gas appliance. Always use in accordance with the supplier’s instructions and keep them properly maintained as damaged equipment poses a safety risk.
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