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All businesses that use forklifts powered by liquid propane gas (LPG) periodically have to change out their tanks. And the more LPG forklifts you have in your fleet, the more frequently this process needs to be performed.
While changing an LPG tank isn’t difficult, it can be dangerous especially if you try to do the job too quickly or are careless when handing potentially explosive fuel tanks.
Having a designated LPG changing station equipped with the proper safety gear can minimize hazards and speed up the process.
What You Need
While you don’t necessarily need a lot of room for an LPG changing station, the space you designate needs to be large enough to accommodate a forklift and the backup LPG tanks you will need.
The area also needs out of the way while still being easily accessible to vehicles. An unused corner of your dock or warehouse usually will suit your needs quite well.
The equipment you will need includes a rack to store the LPG tanks that aren’t in use, including both full and empty tanks. This can be a table, a metal rack, or another device that allows for tanks to be stored safely and securely.
Other gear can include tools necessary to remove the nozzle from empty LPG tanks and secure fresh tanks onto your forklift. Propane cylinder handling gloves, goggles, aprons, and other equipment also can be supplied.
It’s often a good idea to attach chains or wires to this equipment so that they can be assured of staying in the changing station. That way you can be sure they are always available when you need them. Unsecured equipment has a habit of getting lost or “walking away”.
Fire Suppression Equipment
Fire suppression equipment including fire extinguishers rated for putting out gas fires should be kept in your changing station. Overhead smoke and fire detectors, as well as LPG gas detectors, also are a good idea.
The area where tanks will be changed out also should be well ventilated and visible to workers outside of the area. That way if there ever are any problems, other employees can intervene or call for help.
Depending on the climate where your business is located, changing stations that are set up outdoors may be safer than indoor changing stations. Set up your LPG changing station under a roof or overhang to help protect against the elements.