LPG forklift truck fire risk
Health and Safety Executive - Safety notice
Department name: Engagement and Policy Division (EPD)
Bulletin number: EPD02-2023
Issue date: 05/23
Target audience: Anyone responsible operating, supplying, inspecting or maintaining LPG powered forklift trucks.
HSE is aware of a number of fires on, and around, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered forklift trucks and other similar vehicles that have occurred during starting.
Outline of the problem
Build-up of deposits in fuel systems, in particular, the vaporiser units of LPG powered vehicles has led to a number of fires.
Trucks not starting due to sticking valves
Deposits in vaporiser units, flow regulators and shut off valves cause the truck to fail to start, particularly from cold. Build-up of deposits can lead to sticking valves and the mixture supplied to the engine being too rich to be ignited.
Repeated starting attempts can release unburned LPG
Repeated starting attempts can result in the release of unburned LPG, which in extreme cases can be ignited, setting fire to the vehicle and surrounding materials.
- review your safe system of work in relation to the use of all LPG powered lift trucks and similar vehicles
- provide information, instruction and training for all operators about the hazards raised in this alert
- park LPG vehicles in well ventilated areas free from flammable material, particularly when parking overnight or for longer periods
If a truck does not start within the normal few seconds
- do NOT continue to turn (crank) the engine over using the starter
- do NOT repeat the normal engine starting procedure
- do NOT spray volatile agents into the air intake in an attempt to aid starting
- get off the truck and close the shut off valve to isolate the gas bottle
- secure the truck to prevent further starting attempts
- ensure the area is well ventilated
- do NOT attempt to solve or repair the problem yourself, arrange for a competent maintenance engineer to do a check of the LPG system
Service and maintenance engineers
If you are presented with an LPG powered truck with a starting problem:
- do NOT follow the normal starting procedure
- isolate the LPG supply by closing the shut off valve
- ensure that the area is well ventilated
- disconnect the battery
- release LPG pressure trapped in the fuel supply system
- follow the manufacturer’s guidance for inspection of the LPG system
LPG is cold, take appropriate precautions when working with it. Once released LP gas is heavier than air and can pool in low lying areas, where it can be ignited by any source of ignition, including static electricity, electrical sparks and hot surfaces.